Should You Check Fields for Greensnap, Lodging?

Lodging and down corn can be tricky to harvest. ( Sonja Begemann )

For those of you who’ve experienced strong winds and thunderstorms over the past week, it might be time to scout fields. Scout fields for down corn from greensnap or lodging and start thinking about how you’ll adjust your harvest schedule.

First, what do you have?

Greensnap describes breakage of the stalk of the corn plant by high winds. It’s a clean break, and if it breaks below the ear it’s significant yield loss. If it’s above the ear damage varies. However, late season snap loss is irreversible.

If it’s lodging, on the other hand, more of the yield can be saved. It’ll be slower, and often higher moisture, but you might be able to salvage more yield than if it’s snapped.

Scout

Don’t just drive by the field, get your boots dirty and get a real look at what you’re dealing with. Close examination will tell you if it’s greensnap or lodging, which will help you prepare for potential yield impact.

If it’s greensnap and below the ear, University of Minnesota says expect the following yield loss:

  • 25% stand reduction= 10% yield loss
  • 50% stand reduction= 26% yield loss
  • 75% stand reduction= 43% yield loss

Plants are most susceptible to greensnap in early stages but are also susceptible from V12 through silking. Some areas with major planting delays could still be at risk.

For farmers who are past greensnap risk, you’ll still need to scout and perform the “pinch” and “push” test to determine standability. Or, you’ll need to count plants that are already lodged.

Look in fields that have disease, are nitrogen-poor or have endured other stressors first, as they’re at the greatest risk of lodging. As you walk, push stalks to test their strength. If more than 10% to 15% don’t bounce back because they break, that field needs to move up in harvest priority. It’s a 10% to 15% potential yield loss, too.

Harvest

Prioritize weak fields first to pick up as much yield as possible. If you have a lot of lodging or greensnap, you’ll need to lower the corn head, harvest opposite the wind direction (that pushed the corn to the ground) and move slow.

Also note that fields with down corn are at significantly higher risk of disease. You’ll need to keep an eye on those fields to slow ear rots that could lead to quality deductions when you sell the grain.

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