Agronomy Blog

Harvesting Down Corn

by Matt Teply | Nov 3, 2017

Teply-Dwight - lodged corn-citedIt’s a topic no one enjoys discussing.  But, with recent high winds across much of the Western Corn Belt there are some areas that have seen corn lodge making harvest a chore.  Depending on severity there are some things that can be done to aide in making the best of a bad situation.

First step would be evaluating the severity and the cause of the lodging.  In most situations if it’s been stalk breakage due to high winds then the height at which the stalk is broke over tends to become you’re limiting factor.  If corn is lodged due to root lodging issues then the direction of the lodging will tend to be your limiting factor.  In many cases gravity is not your friend when harvesting down corn.  Flatten the angle of the corn head so that corn can more easily slide up and over hoods and feed easier.  If corn is lodged “with the row” then increasing the angle of the corn head may be needed to make feeding easier.  Having a machine equipped auto header heat will make things easier in both situations.  Listed below would be some other tweaks that can be made to aide in harvesting down corn.

  1. Match your gathering chain speed to your actual ground speed.
  2. Increase the aggressiveness of the gathering chains by turning them around.
  3. Increase the clearance of your cross auger allowing more debris to feed into the combine.
  4. Make sure the stripper plates are open in most cases.
  5. Remover ear saver extensions on the ends of the corn head.
  6. Harvest direction in some cases may be one way and from the downwind side.
  7. In some cases, the addition of a corn reel may be a benefit.
  8. Auto steer in almost all cases is an added benefit making things easier on the operator.

Harvesting lodged or down corn is never fun.  It’s a slow and frustrating job, making for long and inefficient days.  Keeping a positive attitude might be the most important thing to be equipped with in these situations.
Teply-TedV - lodged corn-citedTeply-LodgedCornCombine

Sources and Additional Information:

  1. https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2017/combine-adjustments-downed-corn
  2. https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/harvesting-lodged-corn
  3. https://www.agweb.com/article/three-tricks-for-harvesting-lodged-corn-NAA-dan-anderson/

Note: The information in this issue is based upon field observations and third party information. Since variations in local conditions may affect the information and suggestions contained in this issue, LG Seeds disclaims legal responsibility therefore. Always read and follow label instructions.
LG Seeds and design are trademarks of SCA Limagrain.

Download a copy of this Technical Bulletin:Tech_355 - Harvesting Down Corn