Now that you’re ready to harvest, follow this simple guide to get the most out of your corn harvest:
- Scout fields to gauge stalk strength. Approximately 2-3 weeks before harvest, cut a few plant stalks close to the bottom of the plant (10”-12” off the ground) to look for partial hollowness in the center. Fields with weaker stalks may be prone to lodging. Ensure fields with weaker stalks are scheduled to be harvested first.
- Check ears. Look for grain quality and potential mould. Corn on corn fields and those with high plant populations can have quality concerns, schedule these fields for early harvest.
- Perform yield estimates. Use the instructions from Estimating Corn Yield or the Corn Yield Estimator to calculate your yield potential (be as accurate as possible).
- Calibrate yield monitors accordingly and recalibrate when/where necessary.
- Note potential ‘problem fields’ before and during harvest. Fields hit by diseases or insects such as Goss’s Wilt, European Corn Borer or had damage from herbicides or environment (early frost, poor emergence, lodging from high winds). Adjust field timing accordingly.
- Consider an early harvest. There is a growing trend to harvesting wetter corn. Many agronomists recommend a moisture level of approximately 24 – 25%, while others recommend starting harvest at 20 - 25%. Consider harvesting some fields early to effectively manage your time.
- Choose hybrids that dry down faster than others (as not all corn hybrids are the same for this trait) if you have had problems with corn hybrids extending too late into the fall. Dry down makes a significant difference and improves the time management on your farm at harvest.
Have questions on this or other corn related topics? Contact your local Pioneer Sales Representative.