Agronomy Talk

E. Indiana & W. Ohio - Brent Minett, CCA

Stalk Quality and Harvest Prioritization

Published on Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stalk quality can be negatively affected by three factors: disease, nutrient deficiency, and environment. Fungal diseases like fusarium, anthracnose, and gibberella stalk rot cause decay of the internal pith tissues of the stalk. Nitrogen deficiency can lead to the ear cannibalizing the stalk to feed itself. Extended straight line winds in excess of 60 mph can cause any hybrid to lodge; especially those fields that have experienced stress from the other two factors. Harvest prioritization will be especially important this fall. Walking every field and pinching and/or bending stalks will show which fields withstood the stress and which ones did not. Corn-after-corn, low organic matter, low pH, and newly acquired fields are places you should concentrate your search. Corn that’s already lodged offers an interesting question: harvest now or later?

Plants broken over and matted together will dry very slowly. Any significant rain event of will degrade grain quality and harvestability. If grain moisture is less than 30 percent, consider spending money on drying to harvest more bushels, as this may present harvest challenges that are not easy to overcome. Also, look at your drying capacity and storage capacity as they will factor into the logistics of your decision. Each year offers a unique set of challenges and this year is no different. Doing our best with the factors we can control is the best we can hope for. Have a safe fall!

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Brent Minett

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