Bob Nielsen, Extension Corn Production Specialist, Department
of Agronomy, Purdue University
A few of you have called with questions
about the consequences of severe
stalk breakage from the strong winds of the recent remnant of Hurricane
If you have not yet noticed, there is a short compilation
of info at the
Chat 'n Chew Cafe on stalk lodging issues in corn. This includes
a list of
combine attachments that can be useful in helping pick up lodged
Some of the key issues with severely lodged corn are listed below.
Unfortunately, the consequences of many of them are simply unavoidable.
sooner farmers can harvest these fields, the better, with the understanding
that grain moisture still needs to be low enough to avoid mechanical
by the combine (no wetter than about 25 to 27% moisture).
Key Risks of Stalk Lodged Corn Late in the Season
Obviously, the mechanical challenges of harvesting severely
and the risk of significant mechanical harvest loss (see above).
The risk of further disease development (addressed
in the last P&C).
The risk of kernels sprouting on the ear due to prolonged
near contact with the moisture and higher humidity of the soil
The deterioration of grain quality resulting from the previous
The likely delay in grain drying due to
prolonged contact or near contact
with the surface of the soil or the "shading" of
the ears by stalks and
leaves of adjacent lodged plants.
The premature development of kernel black layer (physiological
if severe stalk breakage occurred while the grain was still immature,
with the consequence of lower yields.
The likely greater challenge of successfully storing the grain
condition if some or all of the above issues result in poor quality
being put into the bin.
Click image to enlarge
Stalk lodging from 60 - 100 mph winds of remnant Hurricane
Ike ~ 10 days earlier
Closer view of broken stalk
Closer view of crimped stalk
Broken or crimped stalks
Ear of lodged plant touching the ground