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Management tips for hurricane-damaged corn fields

Begin harvesting as quickly as possible. Harvest progress of lodged corn may be up to five times slower than normal, so growers should aggressively harvest mature corn, despite moisture content. Growers should take this action because the likelihood of grain quality deterioration and harvest losses are much higher than normal, and may increase substantially if wet weather is prevalent this fall. Field drying rates of severely lodged fields will be much slower, compared to normal (0.6% moisture per day), because aeration is reduced. Furthermore, as average daily temperatures begin to drop, field drying may virtually cease.

Operators must slow combine speed to a crawl in order to pick up and feed the tangled pile of fallen corn into the machine. Combine harvest is generally more efficient when traveling opposite the predominant direction the corn stalks are laying. For example, if the stalks are lying towards the west, drive the combine in the east direction. Soybean platform headers may actually work more efficiently than corn heads on nearly flattened corn (less than six inches above ground level).

Pre-harvest herbicide application may be necessary to kill morningglories or other weed species, which could hamper harvest considerably. The most effective herbicide treatment as a harvest aid for morningglory control is a combination of Gramoxone Max (1 pt/a. + NIS 0.25% v/v) and Sodium Chlorate (3 lbs/a). This herbicide combination needs to be applied at least 14 days prior to harvest (please check product labels for specific instructions).

Several types of aftermarket attachments to assist corn headers gather fallen corn are manufactured. These devices are designed to help pull lodged stalks along the snout into the feeder mechanism.

These include:

Kelderman Corn Reel
2686 Highway 92 East
Oskaloosa, IA 52577-9685
1-800-334-6150

Corn Saver
5200 N. Columbia St.
Plainview, TX 79072
800-536-1022

Meteer Manufacturing
RR1 Box 221
Athens, IL 62613
Phone (217) 636-8109

Minden Machine Shop Inc
1302 K Road
Minden, NE 68959
1-800-264-6587

Will Manufacturing
19642 X Road
Denison, KS 66419
Phone: 785-935-2304

Roll-A-Cone
Tulia, TX 79088
(806) 668-4722

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