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Managing Stalk Lodging in Corn

Categories: HARVEST, CORN

Farmers may face some form of stalk lodging every year, but if your fields experience wetter conditions than usual, that can lead to even more issues. Lodging in corn can lead to extended harvest time, increased harvest loss and higher drying costs – all of which can be frustrating.

If you are facing lodging in your fields, take the following measures to ensure you make the most out of every acre:  

1. Assess your situation: Before altering your harvest plan, Iowa State University Extension encourages farmers to measure potential machine losses. Combine through a lodged area and note the number of ears left behind the combine. If ear loss is extreme, walk through a similar unharvested area and count the number of ears already on the ground. Then, compare the two. Ears on the ground are not likely to get picked up regardless of head adjustment, so if numbers are similar you may not need to adjust the combine head.

2. Adjust timing: Lodged corn should be harvested first. Harvesting these fields as soon as possible will prevent stalk rot from worsening. When combining, move slowly through lodged corn - reducing combine speed will cut down on missed ears.

3. Fine-tune the combine: Adjustments can also help maximize harvest. Going against the grain, keeping snouts low and leveling out the angle of your feeder house if equipped will help you gather as many ears as possible. Adding a reel to the combine head may also helpful when harvesting down corn. Double check that your ear savers are in good condition as well, as they may put you at risk for ear loss if damaged.

When dealing with stalk lodging in corn, it is best to be patient. Take the time to be efficient, and contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

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