Your corn may still be wet, but stalk strength is poor, and more goes down every day with a slight breeze. How do you decide whether to sacrifice the lost bushels or pay for drying wet grain? Ohio State offers a formula to decide: bu./acre sacrificed to pay for drier grain = drying costs (cents/% moisture) x difference in grain moisture % (harvest now vs. waiting) x yield (bu./acre) divided by corn price ($/bu.).

At Purdue, researcher Bob Nielsen says if you are waiting for the black layer to appear in corn, it will always appear whether the corn is mature or prematurely dies. And he adds, “Premature kernel black layer development is usually accompanied by smaller than desired kernels and resulting ‘rubbery’ ears that can be difficult to shell without re-adjusting combine settings.”

Nielsen also says that severely lodged corn will be more likely to have molds or kernel sprouting if ears were in contact with the ground, “The prolonged contact or near contact with the moisture and higher humidity of the soil surface will delay grain drying and increase the risks of the development of fungal ear molds and premature kernel sprouting prior to harvest. Growers will be challenged to find the best compromise in grain moisture between the standing and lodged plants. The combination of variable grain moisture, possible kernel molds and premature kernel sprouting all increase the challenges of successfully storing the grain in good condition.”