CropWatch March 5, 2010: Harvesting Corn after Rain, Snow and Wind
March 5, 2010
The cool summer and fall delayed corn maturity and dry down which limited the ability of elevators to accept grain since much of it required drying. This resulted in some corn fields, or parts of corn fields, not being harvested last fall. In some fields, producers harvested all but the north and west edges where there was several feet of snow from early winter storms.
The producer's best option is probably to harvest the corn for grain as soon as field conditions permit. Harvest time may be limited to early morning while the ground is still frozen. It may be necessary to harvest in only one direction and ground speed usually will need to be reduced. Adjust gathering chains and snapping rolls speed to match combine speed. Also, make other adjustments to the corn head as necessary. If the corn is down it will be necessary to run the head as close to the ground as possible to insure maximum possible yield.
Harvest losses are likely to be greater than normal so volunteer corn will be a bigger problem. Grazing the field can reduce the volunteer corn. Crop rotation also may help control volunteer corn. For example, if soybeans are planted, ACCase herbicides like Select Max, Assure II, Fusion, and Poast Plus could be used to control the volunteer corn.
The worst volunteer corn will be where the field is tilled because tillage buries the volunteer corn seed. In ridge planting, volunteer corn will not be a problem if a ridge cleaning device is used.
Also, safety first, harvesting corn under difficult conditions can be trying. Never use unsafe practices.
Western Nebraska Crops Specialist
Cropping Systems Extension Specialist