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  • Writer's pictureWendell Koehn

Preparing for Harvest 2019 in SW Missouri

"I will prepare, and someday my chance will come." -Abraham Lincoln

Corn ripening in the field in SW Missouri

With the amount of moisture in the air and soil this year, there is potential for a challenging harvest, whether this is due to harvestability of the plants or ground conditions. A friend of mine told me that places in KS over the Marais des Cygnes river basin have received a 12 month rainfall of 80". It is a tired refrain by now to speak of the challenges of 2019. However, the end is now in sight. The most wonderful time of the year is approaching: Harvest! The purpose of this report is to remind us of some tips that might fit your operation. Here are a couple things to think about to help calculate that a few discounts from the buyer are received back in other forms of yield or water.


  • Phantom Yield Loss from dry down of grain Call local buyers for cost breakdowns on moisture. Hopefully they don't charge dumping fees. Consider starting harvest earlier with higher moisture. Purdue University studies show a 1% loss potential per point of moisture of dry matter. Thus, starting harvest at 20% over 15.5% would be a 4.5% yield loss. For easy numbers 200 bushel corn would be a 9 bushel loss and at $4.00/bushel equate to a $36.00/acre loss. Per bushel this would be $.18 loss in yield using above numbers. Now consider that we lose our weight in water as well. With 56 lb in a bushel of corn and 20% being water we can conclude that in a bushel of corn there are 11.2 lb of water. Now, by drying it to no dock of 15.5% we reduce the weight by 4.5% and reduce the weight of the corn by a little over a 1/2 lb. Since buyers weigh and price accordingly at 56 lb we have lost .5 of a lb of priced weight. This equals of $.045/bushel loss in weight. If the buyer charges 1% per 1/2 point, then they are docking 9% and at $4.00 this is $.36. Thus the true dock at 20% moisture would be $.18 yield loss + $.045 water loss - $.36 dock = $.135/bushel. This only assumes that the combine will be fast enough to start at 15.5% moisture and not lose any moisture till end of harvest. For, since the grain trade allows the remaining water below 15.6% to be sold as grain weight any drop in moisture below the dry no dock % becomes a bushel loss to the grower. In an ideal world one would calculate the rate of dry down and start in enough time that when you finished harvesting the average moisture of your entire farm was 15.5%, but this year starting earlier rather than later will probably pay off the discount you end up losing.

  • Harvest-ability of the crop In the time before harvest, plan to take the grain in fields where stalks are the weakest or disease is prominent. This can be a good plan before grain dries down to the more optimum levels. This year with the storms of wind and the high humidity promoting disease there is potential for stalk rots weakening stands. A tour of your farms/fields ahead of time to mark a route and game plan can be beneficial.

If you need anything, feel free to call. Even if it is only a Coke! Have a safe and happy harvest!

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