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What To Check Before Harvesting Corn

Categories: HARVEST, CORN

The growing season is coming to a close, but there are still a few field factors you need to watch for before harvest. Golden Harvest agronomists recommend careful management practices during the final weeks of the season to help your corn reach its full yield potential.

If you faced wet conditions in the recent spring, you may be concerned about grain moisture content – especially when choosing to let the field air dry. Keep in mind an ideal corn moisture content at harvest is between 20 to 25% based on your region.

Below are 3 concerns Golden Harvest agronomists advise farmers to consider ahead of harvest:

  • Stalk lodging: As your stalks dry out, they become weaker and may topple over or break below the ear. According to Purdue University, annual yield losses due to stalk lodging in the U.S. range between 5 and 25%. Stalk lodging not only affects your yield quantity, but your grain quality too. Consider harvesting your fields affected by stalk issues first to minimize the impact on your yields. 
  • Ear drop: In addition to stalk lodging, ear drop is a common problem faced by farmers prior to harvest. As the stalk loses moisture, it becomes brittle. During this time, there is a high potential for ears to break off the plant and fall to the ground. If your crop is at risk, consider harvesting quickly and operating the corn head higher than normal to reduce ear loss during harvest.
  • Ear mold: As husks open for the plant to dry, wet conditions can sneak in. Heavy rain during drydown may cause corn kernels to re-sprout, which can be disastrous for your grain quality. Ear molds can continue to cause damage until harvest. Be sure to carefully consider drydown time to reduce your exposure to wet conditions and the potential for ear mold in your corn.

If your field is experiencing any of these issues, timing your harvest may be tricky. Carefully watch your crop conditions to balance field drydown time and protect against yield losses.

For advice on harvest timing or additional agronomic insights, contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor.

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