2020 harvest: Go time is close
Last week, a devastating derecho storm swept through much of Iowa. Many fields have seen some form of damage, whether it was stalks being snapped, leaves being ripped from the plant, or entire fields flattened. The plants that snapped in half were immature, so moisture levels are dropping quickly, and quality is being compromised. The area hasn’t experienced much moisture since the storm and molds have not exploded yet, but, with time, more molds and mycotoxins will be picked up from dirt during harvest or from rain. Some farms started chopping over the weekend, and others will likely start this week or next week. Harvesting on the greener side may be an advantage versus letting it dry in the field.
Dr. Andy Kniesly
We had a wet start to spring in northern Ohio, which caused some delays. Crops look good, although we have a few dry spots. We have gotten some recent rains. The majority of farms will probably chop at the end of August through the middle of September. Yields look like they will be decent. They’ll, of course, be lower in the dry pockets, but still better than last year.
For the most part, the corn looks incredible in central Indiana and west-central Ohio. We got a little nervous when the heat arrived, but the rains came as we needed them. We only have a few dry pockets. We’re seeing tall corn with big cobs, so we expect to see record tonnage as most start chopping in about three weeks. The unique challenge this year is that we’ve had bad rootworm infestations that we haven’t seen before. Some were able to apply insecticide and stop it. Others sprayed too late and the subsequent plant damage could cause harvest challenges.
Dr. Keith Lesmeister
In western Iowa and Kansas, we’ve had good levels of moisture at the right times. The heat and humidity we’ve had definitely helped the corn grow. Corn has started to dry down, and choppers will be rolling in Iowa and Nebraska next week. Corn silage harvest is in full swing in Kansas and will likely be completed by the end of next week. Yields and quality are really good in most areas.
Most corn in eastern Wisconsin appears to be ready for chopping during the first couple weeks of September. Yields will be interesting; some areas look amazing, while others were hampered by compaction challenges created by the wet harvest in 2019 and very wet conditions earlier in the growing year. In the end, I’m sure we’ll all find good surprises as the cobs will finish filling out this month and help with the tonnage.
Most of the corn in central Minnesota and eastern South Dakota looks great! We started the season with a nearly perfect planting season. Most corn was planted in late April to the first couple weeks in May, which was nearly a month earlier than the previous year. Most fields have received ideal moisture. A few spotty areas are a bit wetter than ideal and some are slightly drier than ideal. A few unfortunate areas in southern Minnesota were hit hard by hail in early July. Tassels first appeared within days after July 4. Widespread tasseling occurred by July 15 to 20. Since the point of silking, we’ve had adequate moisture and plenty of heat. As a result, we anticipate corn silage harvest to begin the week of August 23. Yields should be good with higher-than-average grain production. Fiber digestibility is anyone’s guess!
The corn silage crop is looking really good here in eastern Michigan. We were dry early in the season, but we received rain and a decent amount of heat when we needed it. Harvest will likely take place around September 1. We expect excellent tonnage.
Looking outside of the Midwest, folks just finished chopping the first crop in their double-cropping systems in central and southern Texas. Yields were decent. Western Texas is very dry and some fields there have been abandoned. Northeast Texas is just starting to chop corn and that crop looks decent.
This article originally appeared in the Vita Plus Dairy Performance blog. Click here for more dairy nutrition and management expertise.