There are always variances in yield and moisture across crop fields. This is due to topography, soil type and other management factors. However, this year wide spreads in moisture content will present challenges.
“This week I was talking with guys trying to dry corn in the areas where it got dry on the hillsides and corn died early,” says Farm Journal Field Agronomist Ken Ferrie. “It’s creating some on-farm drying challenges—kinda drying like a wet rug.”
Those farmers are seeing dead hillsides at 17% moisture, sure, but the ears have low test weight and rubbery cobs. Parts of the field that held onto moisture throughout the growing season better could be 25% moisture or more with good test weight—but mixed with the poor corn the whole field grain quality becomes sub-par.
“It’s taking a lot of heat and a lot of time in the dryer, and in the end it’s producing a lot of fines you have to deal with—it will not look like good quality corn,” Ferrie says. “You’ll want to keep track of where you’re putting this stuff so it doesn’t go out of condition and catch you by surprise.”
Some farmers told Ferrie that leaving the mixed moisture grain in a wet bin for two to three days helps kind of homogenize it, so it dries easier. However, it might not be possible to have a wet bin out of commission in the middle of harvest, so do some trial and error to see what works for you.
As frost has descended or will soon descend on much of the Midwest, it’s helping bring things together for corn and soybeans and helping knock back some late-season weeds. Farmers are seeing wide swings from field to field when it comes to yield.
“The neighborhood swings this year are a lot wider than we’re used to seeing,” Ferrie says, referring to his area in central Illinois. “The causes are many, but August rains area a big one and just a couple miles could make a difference.”
He saw two fields, planted the same day, two miles apart and one had 58 bu. per acre soybeans and the other 78 bu. per acre soybeans. The only difference was an extra 2” of rain in August.
Check out more Boots in the Field updates with Ken Ferrie here: