Harvest loss can be attributed to two basic causes: Machine conditions and dropped ears. That’s according to Farm Journal field agronomist Ken Ferrie in Episode 13 of Corn College TV Season 3.
First, look for ways to reduce header loss by adjusting its speed, the speed of the combine or both.
"How can we stop the shatter or the drop through the head itself? That’s going to be the width of your stripper plates, and you’re going to hug them in as tight as you can."
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On the combine, review factors such as concave settings, rotor speeds and fans on clean grain.
Meanwhile, dropped ears can result from poor nutrients, weather, rootworm and other factors. These downed ears can germinate and serve as a bridge for diseases and insects from one crop to the next. To avoid leaving these in the field, have a plan of action at harvest.
"See what stalk quality is like, and know which field’s got to come out first," Ferrie says. "You don’t want to be spending days on a field that’s already down while you have standing corn in the process of falling down."
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