Later Harvest, Greater Yield Loss

Growers waiting to harvest their corn most likely won’t see a significant decrease in grain moisture, but run the risk of increased stalk lodging, moldy ears, and yield losses the longer corn sits in the fields.

Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension corn agronomist, said that unfavorable weather might be keeping growers out of their fields, but they should harvest as promptly as possible.

“We have a fantastic crop out there with yields averaging above 200 bushels per acre in many fields. Why let that crop go down the tube waiting on grain to dry down, which is questionable at this late date?” says Thomison, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “Right now in many areas we have a crop that is standing well, exhibiting good plant integrity with stalks looking good and intact ear shanks. But there’s only one direction that plant health is going to go and that’s down. Is a farmer willing to let those yields decrease or accept higher drying costs?”

Thomison points to research he and his colleagues conducted a few years ago, evaluating the state of corn hybrids the longer they stayed in the field. What the researchers found was that the longer corn was left in the field, the more yield loss was experienced — an average of 11 percent between mid-November and mid-December.

“The results of the research suggest that corn can tolerate a harvest delay until mid-November without major yield losses, but after that is when things start falling apart,” Thomison says. “After mid-November harvest delays begin to exact a toll on corn left standing in the field. In some years, our data showed yield losses as low as 5 percent, but in other cases it was as high as 24 percent ”

Thomison says that yield losses are closely associated with stalk lodging, especially with hybrids that are sensitive to stalk rots. Another major concern with leaving corn in the field too long is grain quality. Ears subjected to prolonged wet conditions can turn moldy, potentially contaminating grain with mycotoxins that are harmful to livestock.

“In extreme situations, kernels can start sprouting,” Thomison says, “which adversely affects marketability of the grain.”

According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 76 percent of Ohio’s corn crop has been harvested, behind last year as well as the five-year average. Thomison says that farmers either can’t harvest their corn because of unfavorable field conditions or are waiting for the corn to dry down further.

“Perhaps the most striking finding about the research we conducted was that we didn’t see a significant decrease in grain moisture after mid-November," he says. "We saw grain moisture decrease 6.3 percent between mid-October and mid-December, but only 0.5 percent of that dry-down occurred after mid-November. If a grower is expecting to see a big jump in grain moisture change between now and mid-December, our studies would suggest otherwise. We even left corn in the field as late as March and didn’t see a drastic decrease in grain moisture.”

Thomison says that in recent years farmers have experienced good growing conditions that have allowed them to leave corn in the field longer than they probably should.

“But this is probably not the year to do be doing that,” Thomison says.

The last time growers faced delayed harvest issues on this scale was in 1992, when cool, wet conditions in the fall kept some growers out of their fields until that winter.
 

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementARA 2016 Report and Crop Mix for 2017
December 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent Agricultural Retailers Association meeting and the projected acreage mix for Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In …
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
Ryan Bartlett
Crop InputsCompass Minerals Appoints Vice President, Innovation An…
December 8, 2016
Ryan Bartlett, Ph.D., has joined Compass Minerals as vice president, innovation and product development. Dr. Bartlett will be responsible for Read More
HerbicidesHerbicides 2017: New Cropping Systems Set For Debut
December 7, 2016
Herbicide-resistant weed are inching ever-closer to a potentially frightening saturation point here in the U.S. Heading into 2016, USDA planting Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More