Evaluate Field Health to Prioritize Harvest and Preserve Yield

Because most of the Corn Belt experienced wet spring weather, Channel Seedsmen are on the lookout for disease pathogens that can stress corn and significantly reduce corn yields. Disease pathogens that are visible in corn fields now have been lurking in soils and field debris since planting.

As the growing season progresses from the reproductive stage to the maturity stage, it’s a good time to evaluate the crop and think about your harvest plan. Many farmers are very pragmatic about taking their crop out of the field. They consider the logistics of moving machinery, making sure there is the right amount of help and computing the distance harvested grain will need to travel for storage or sale. 

Harvesting a crop according to what makes logistical sense isn’t a bad strategy. However, if your goal is to harvest as many corn or soybean bushels as possible, it’s important to evaluate the plant health of each field and know the signs and signals for prioritizing harvest. Channel Seedsmen are experts at evaluating stalk health and can help you prioritize and time your fields for harvest.

There are two tests that are used to evaluate plant health in the field during the maturity stage, the push test and the pinch test. For both tests, plan to sample 20 plants in five representative field locations. When 10 to 15 percent or more of plants fail the push or pinch test, there is a risk for severe stalk lodging and the field should be prioritized for harvest to prevent losing yield due to downed corn. Ask your local Channel Seedsman about the maturity stage Field Check Up Series visit and about evaluating your crop and prioritizing fields for harvest.

Whitney Monin

Channel Technical Agronomist

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