Source: University of Missouri
Midwestern corn crops can’t get a break from the weather. Drought slowed growth most of the season in states like Missouri. Now moisture from remnants of Hurricane Isaac delay harvest of that corn.
This may not be the year to let the crop dry in the field, says Bill Wiebold, University of Missouri Extension agronomist. Early harvest can pay, even it increases costs.
"Timely harvest is essential to harvest as much yield as possible, even if it means more drying and aeration costs," Wiebold says.
Delays can lead to broken stalks and dropped ears from a drought-weakened crop.
"Poor stalk quality leads to increased preharvest and harvest losses," Wiebold adds.
In August, USDA estimated the Missouri corn yield at 75 bushels per acre.
Wiebold, using a 30-year-yield trend line, calculated the 2012 Missouri corn yield should have made 141 bushels per acre. "That’s a yield drop of 47 percent," he says.
Harvest will verify actual yield.
"With that drop in production, farmers may be cautious to sink additional expenses into the crop," Wiebold says.
"Harvesting a larger portion of the low yields may outweigh additional costs associated with early harvest," he says. "Timely harvest as soon as fields are dry enough to withstand combine and wagon traffic is important to reduce harvest losses."
There are many reasons stalk quality drops following a droughty growing season, Wiebold says.