The 2019 silage harvest came to an end for Legend Seeds when we were able to travel to North Dakota before the winter weather arrived. We sampled 9 hybrids at Grand Forks, ND and 16 hybrids at Colfax, ND. All samples are in the fermenting process and will be sent to the lab soon.
Make sure to scout your fields before harvest starts to determine which order to harvest your fields. While scouting your fields, the three main things to look for are: Stalk quality/health, ear quality, and harvest moisture.
Photo Credit: UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Stalk quality/health is very important this time of year. Stalk rot diseases and environmental stress factors lead to stalk lodging. There are many different stalks rot diseases that can affect corn but the most common is Anthracnose stalk rot. It can be identified by dark lesions on the outside of the lower stalk. If you split the stalk in half, you can see the internal stalk deterioration with dark discoloration at the nodes. Check for stalk rots by doing the push test or pinch test. If 10-15% or more of the plants are weak, that means the field is at risk for lodging and should be harvested early. Learn more by reading our Corn Stalk Lodging Agronomy Bulletin.
Photo Credit: Agronomic Crops Network
Ear rots can also occur when the conditions are wet during the fall and harvest is delayed. Wet weather makes for a perfect environment for fungal growth on the ears. Fields at higher risk include those that were injured by hail or insect feeding during the season. Ear rot diseases may cause yield loss and reduce grain quality. They are caused by several different fungi that can continue growing in stored grain, which can further reduce quality if not controlled. It’s important to scout for ear rot diseases to know how to better handle affected grain at harvest to prevent or minimize impacts on grain quality. Scout your fields now to determine which fields are at greatest risk and should be harvested first.
- Moisture is also a major factor in determining when to harvest. Most farmers begin harvesting when their corn is below 20-25% moisture. Allowing corn to field dry below 20% risks yield losses from stalk lodging, ear rots, insect feeding damage and wildlife damage. You can test the moisture of corn by using a grain moisture tester like this one:
If you have a field that has stalk rot or ear rots you should harvest those fields as soon as possible. Also remember to check the settings on your combine to make sure that you are not losing grain from your machine. Remember every two kernels per square foot lost = one bushel per acre left behind.
We hope this wintry weather will soon bring fall weather so research can begin grain harvest.
Have a safe harvest season!
LEGEND ELITE ADVANCEMENT PROJECTLegend Elite Advancement Project (L.E.A.P.) is our proprietary, in-house research program. It validates data on hybrid genetic performance over time and agronomic placement. Our L.E.A.P. plots are used for product evaluation, selection, and positioning on the right soil type and in the right geography to consistently deliver high value products to growers. Since 2014, we've conducted 85,890 replicated corn trials across 68 locations. As a result of our rigorous testing, we advance only the elite hybrids into our line-up, averaging 19 new products per year out of the thousands we tested.