Best Practices for Harvesting Wind-Damaged Corn

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Below find helpful tips from other growers. Time of day and field conditions will have an impact on what works best in a given situation and you may need to experiment to find the best fit.

  1. Focus on maximizing your yield by making harvest adjustments.
  2. Consider harvesting earlier vs. later. Doing so reduces the effect of stalk rot pathogens and the plants are more likely to stay intact.
  3. Some conditions and the time of the day work better on down corn than other times. Harvest any standing corn when the conditions are tough in the down corn.
  4. If it is hard to see the corn head and to stay on the corn rows, consider running the outside row over a harvested row. For example, harvest 5 rows at a time with a 6-row header. Add colored snout tips to help see them in the stalks.
  5. Reduce combine speed and experiment with the head speed to find what works best.
  6. Lodged corn often harvests best going the opposite direction of the wind damage.
  7. Use of GPS guidance systems such as light bars and RTK can reduce operator strain but they should be set to operate opposite the wind direction.
  8. If the combine has a header control, run the snouts as close to the ground as possible to get under the corn stalks.
  9. Adjust the tilt on the feeder house throat to level the head. Some combine manufacturers have a wedge kit available to level the head.
  10. Take off the tall corn attachments and ear savers. Open deck plates.
  11. Plastic add-on corn snouts may help reduce drag.
  12. Poly heads are a tremendous help and spraying Armor All® or Pam® cooking spray decreases the stalk resistance on the head even greater.
  13. Consider running gathering chains together rather than opposite of each other if more aggressive gathering is needed. Watch for rocky conditions.
  14. If trash is building up on the head, drive on some 3/4-inch lock washers on the cross auger to help grip and bring in the trash. In damp, sticky or heavy trash conditions, adjust the auger up and forward to move material away from the row unit.
  15. As corn dries, corn head attachments such as a reel and/or Cone augers on the outside rows will help to feed the corn in. Cone augers can be prone to wrapping if there is grass weed pressure in the field.
  16. Work with your local combine dealer for tips and combining down corn.