Even before the big winds we have seen in the last couple weeks there was a lot of concern about corn stalk quality and the possibility of corn going down before harvest. The hot and dry summer put a lot of stress on corn plants. After pollination the corn plant uses all energy it has to develop the kernels on the ear. Basically it cannibalizes the stalk to put as much as possible into the kernels.

So, have you scouted your corn fields and done the "push test" or maybe some of the corn plants have already gone down? The push test is quite simple. Just grab the corn stalk and push it over a little bit and see if it kinks and bends on the lower part of the plant. Also, maybe by the lowest node pinch the stalk and see if it is firm or kind of soft. If it is soft that is an indication stalk what it typically is at this time of the year.

If some stalks are going down or the strength is not what it should be harvest that field or hybrid first. I have noticed some farmers harvesting corn already. Maybe they are concerned about stalk quality but some are also trying to catch the better old crop price instead of new crop which is much lower! Their beans were maybe not ready yet and they wanted to take advantage of the nice weather!

Granted harvesting corn now will take more propane to dry it down. However, if your corn may look like it does in the picture the field losses will be huge! These pictures were sent to me by U of M Extension Educator Dave Nicolai. The big winds from last weekend really flattened some of the corn at the Rosemont Experiment Station!

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