As we move through the month of August, now is the time to get the combines out and prepare our equipment for harvest. One of the most overlooked maintenance tasks is properly adjusting the combine and head. Sixty percent of corn yield loss happens at the corn head. Typically, this happens because of worn or unadjusted deck plates, wrong head angle, speed of snap rolls and ears going over the side of the header. It only takes two kernels of corn per square foot to equal a one bushel lost. It’s also important to properly adjust your threshing system and fan speed.
Not only are there mechanical parts to check, but it is also important to calibrate yield monitors. Yield monitors collect valuable information that can help us decide how certain hybrids handle different soil types and weather. By using this information, we can better determine future use of the hybrid. Your RSA should be able to help with these calibrations.
As harvest season approaches, it is important to walk your corn fields to check stalk strength. To determine the strength of the stalk, push against the plants firmly to about a 45-degree angle. You can also pinch the plants on the lower stalk at the first internodes. You should check a minimum of 20 plants per row to determine stalk strength. Fields with 10–15 percent or more of stalk lodging need to be considered for early harvest. Also, while you’re out there you can do yield estimates to help determine expectations for harvest.
This is also the time when I recommend growers start thinking about next year. By gaining information from the field, we can help determine what hybrids we should think about for next year. Stine’s early order program can help guarantee you the top hybrids within our genetic program. Please contact your Stine RSA to get your order in today.
As always, remember that accidents happen when we become rushed, and by preparing today, we can have a safe and healthy harvest.