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Corn Stalk Quality and Corn Harvest Decisions

Categories: HARVEST, CORN
There's a lot of talk about corn stalk rot diseases. And although it's important to be aware of these diseases, there has been minimal discussion around healthy corn stalk quality. 

Think about stalk quality when planning your corn harvest. Harvest delays are not unusual, but extended rainfall can turn a small stalk quality problem into a large one. At maturity, a healthy corn stalk may have slightly green to yellow stalks, but as grain dries, so will the stalks. Dried stalks are easily seen when split open and will show a hollowing around the stalk pith.

As shown in the example below, drying will cause the inner pith to shrink, essentially leaving a hollow tube. Once healthy stalks hollow out, most of the strength is gone and lodging becomes a major concern.

Delayed harvest conditions allow corn to dry down further, shrinking the center pith and pulling it from the stalk's outer wall.

During this time of year, a quick stalk quality evaluation is very important. Even healthy corn can lodge or collapse from standing too long. Make sure to walk cornfields, push stalks and check for stalk integrity. From there, prioritize these fields during harvest when weather conditions improve. 
Hollow, healthy stalks can become fragile without stalk rot issues – even from plant maturity and dry down alone.

Contact your Golden Harvest Seed Advisor with questions or for additional agronomic insights.

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