The million dollar question this fall is going to be, “When should I harvest my corn?” With a late spring and what’s
shaping up to be a particularly wet fall, we could be facing some challenges during harvest. With plenty of recent
rains and more in most forecasts, the majority of growers in the corn belt haven’t even combined any soybeans yet. So,
when should we harvest our corn? There’s many ways to answer this question and not necessarily a right or wrong way,
but Elk Mound Seed would like to provide some clarity of when to harvest. 20% moisture is considered ideal for combining if drying costs are manageable. More time in the field = more field losses. A two-year study showed losses as high as 40% on corn that stood
throughout the winter. Grain will dry as much as 0.5% per day in September but as it gets colder in October and November, drying can halt
to 0.1% per day and eventually 0.0%.
While things have been holding up well to this point, we’d also like to stress the importance of getting out and
checking your fields. The wet growing season can lead to anthracnose stalk rot, which can be devastating for even the
best standing hybrids. A simple “pinch test” of the lower two feet of the stalk will give you an idea of how the
stalks have fared the season. A good stalk won’t give when squeezing, but a diseased stalk will feel spongy and will
be more prone to lodging.
We’re seeing some pretty good corn in places; we just need mother nature to cooperate with
us these next two months.
If you’ve got any questions regarding this, please feel free to reach out to the experts at Elk Mound Seed.