Although rarely within our control, delays in corn harvest can have a serious effect on yield potential. When left in fields past mid-November, crops become increasingly exposed to unfavorable weather conditions, not to mention wildlife and the threat of disease damage. Corn hybrids with weak plant integrity face a particularly high chance of sustaining losses through stalk lodging and ear rot, affecting marketable yield.
Understanding the variables around corn harvest is important for maximizing return on investment. An Ohio State University Extension study of harvest delays offered several key insights:
- Harvest delays that occurred beyond mid-November accounted for nearly 90% of yield loss.
- Increase in stalk rot appeared between harvest dates in October and November. By comparison, increases in stalk lodging occurred primarily after early to mid-November.
- Hybrids with lower stalk strength ratings exhibited greater stalk rot, lodging and yield loss when harvest was delayed.
While we can’t stop weather from causing delayed harvests, these findings show that selecting corn hybrids with certain agronomic characteristics – like the higher stalk strength ratings found in the NK® corn portfolio – can help to minimize its overall impact. For recommendations on the best hybrids for your fields, contact your local NK sales representative or NK retailer.
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