Published on Thursday, October 03, 2019
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Harvesting downed corn is one of the worst jobs on the farm. Year in and year out, there are many abiotic stresses or plant pathogens that will affect standability and ease of harvesting a corn crop. One of the most prevalent issues causing decreased standability of corn is the presence of crown rot and stalk rots. These diseases take advantage of compromised stalk tissue, and degrading it below the ear causing lodging and stalk breakage. There are, however, ways to improve the process of harvesting downed corn that can make it much smoother.
Timing: Start harvesting downed corn early. Although the grain may be wetter than ideal, greener plants will feed into the head easier than dry stalks. As the season progresses, stalk rots and degradation will progress, causing more potential acres to become lodged or broken.
Speed: Slow your ground speed. In most instances, a ground speed between 2 to 3 mph will work best for down or lodged corn.
Adjustments: Adjust your gathering chains for both speed and cleat spacing.
Direction: Start harvesting fields with down corn on the downwind side of the field. If the corn is leaning to the east, harvest heading west. Ease of harvest may also improve by taking one less row than the capacity of the head (7 rows on an 8-row head).
Author: Jon Skinner
Categories: Agronomy, Agronomy Talk
Tags: harvest, corn, Agronomy, stalk rot, down corn, standability