Is it too wet to combine corn?

With the weather we had this year our corn crop is behind. Many fields did not black layer but the frost shut the corn crop down (brown layer). What does this mean? Low test weight corn, slow dry down , wet corn and weak stalks. Reports from the field indicate that the moisture of the corn crop is from 30 – 37% moisture. How long do we wait before we harvest this crop?
First I do not think that we can leave the corn out all winter (has not worked well in the past and the stalks are not like 1992 when they were full of sugars and stood very well). What do we know?
The cost to dry corn at 35% moisture is approximately $0.06 per point of moisture or 7 – 8 bu/ac if we get the corn to 32% moisture it is less at approximately $0.04 per point of moisture. Last year taught us that if we have corn that lodges that field loss was around 20 bu/ac. How fast will the corn dry? On average at this time of year 2% per week. To get to 25% corn we will need 5 weeks of drying that would get us starting harvest December 5th with no severe weather that lodges the corn.
We need to keep working away at this corn crop and get it harvested. We are running short of time and economically we cannot have the combine sitting idle at this time of year. Work at this crop at a relaxed pace but keep moving.
If you still have soybeans out in the field we are at the point in time where we need to change the header for corn on the wet days and keep the wheels rolling. Time is money and in farming we cannot afford to waste money by having a combine sitting around doing nothing at this time of year.

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3 Responses

  1. It takes alot more than 7-8 bushels to pay for drying this year. 35%/150bu/ac@$4 comes close to 34bu.
    Drying 35% is 90 cents/bu…OUCH!

    • Great feedback folks!
      I know that this is supposed to be an Agronomic blog but thought I would stray a little!
      It is really going to be hard to stay away from the negatives of this year. High moistures and ear molds are just more peice that will be added to the “crop” frustrations of 2009.
      I was on a conference call this morning and a key point was brought up. We maybe have to take a deep breath and think of the positives. Yeilds for the most part look good, commodity prices have some upside and crop inputs (corn) will be significantly lower in 2010. It is all in the mind set. Is the glass have empty or is it half full.

  2. Good point, Mike – it is an extra 7 – 8 bu over the drying costs at 30% moisture. I totally agree with you on the cost of drying corn – OUCH!
    Good luck with harvest thanks for the comment

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