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Practices to Avoid When Dealing with Lodged Corn

November 16, 2017
This agronomic image shows Stalk rot versus healthy stalk in corn.

Stalk rot vs. healthy stalk.

From challenging weather to unwanted pests and disease, conditions this season have led to stalk lodging for many corn growers. Severely lodged corn can put yield potential at risk, so it is important to be mindful when harvesting lodged corn.

To help you get the most out of every row, here are several common mistakes to avoid:

  • Waiting too long: Lodged corn should be harvested first, as delaying harvest leaves the crop at risk for worsening stalk rot.
  • Not testing the field: Take the time to properly assess your situation and measure potential losses. Combine through a lodged area and note the number of ears left behind the combine. If ear loss is extreme, walk through a similar unharvested area and count the number of ears already on the ground. These ears are not likely to get picked up regardless of head adjustment.
  • Speeding through harvest: Rushing quickly through your fields is inefficient for lodged corn. Slow your combine speed to reduce the risk of missed ears, and be sure to go against the grain to diminish loss.
  • Neglecting safety: Iowa State University Extension warns that when dealing with lodged corn, harvest is not business as usual. It’s easy to get frustrated with the time and effort required, but proper safety practices are mission critical. Rushing through harvest can be dangerous and counterproductive.

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