Tips for Harvesting Lodged Corn

Hail, straight-line winds and other stressors throughout the 2011 growing season has caused corn to lodge in several fields across the Midwest.  As a result, it won’t be “harvest as usual” for many corn farmers.  They’ll need to reduce speeds and take extra steps to prevent as much loss as possible.   With corn prices around $7 per bushel, it doesn’t take long for harvest losses to mount.  Each pound ear on the ground per 436 square feet equals a loss of one bushel per acre, according to a recent Wallaces Farmer article.

In this same article, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension Ag Engineer Mark Hanna reminds farmers to keep these tips in mind when harvesting lodged corn:

  • If harvest speeds are significantly reduced, the amount of material going through the combine is reduced. Fan speed may need to be reduced to avoid blowing kernels out of the combine. Rotor speed may need to be reduced to maintain grain quality. Check kernel losses behind the combine and grain quality to fine tune cleaning and threshing adjustments.
  • Operate the corn head as low as practical without picking up rocks or significant amounts of soil.
  • Single-direction harvesting against the grain of leaning stalks may help. Evaluate losses though before spending large amounts of time dead-heading through the field.

More tips for machine operation to reduce harvesting losses is available from Wallaces Farmer online.  Click here for the full article, “Harvesting Tips For Lodged Corn.”