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Is field drying most economical approach for corn?

With temperatures soaring to around the 100-degree mark, it’s tempting to let Mother Nature take its course when it comes to drying corn.

But that may not be the best option for Mid-South growers, especially if they’re being offered a premium for August delivery. Mississippi State University’s Wayne Ebelhar talked about shattering problems for field-dried corn in this interview prior to the Delta Research and Extension’s Late Season Crops Field Day.

He and Erick Larson, Mississippi State University Extension corn specialist, say  the young corn plants passersby sometimes see in the field following corn harvest are evidence that not all the grain went into the combine and then into grain bin during harvest operation.

"I prepared a table which shows how much grain loss a farmer may be experiencing depending on how many seeds per square foot he sees on the ground behind the combine," said Ebelhar. "Seed size can vary, and I've taken that into consideration. But the losses can be as high as six bushels per acre. When corn was $6 a bushel that was $36 an acre, which was a substantial profit."

Ebelhar said combines can operate more efficiently when corn is harvested at a higher moisture and dried down in a grain dryer. "When it's already down to 15 percent or even as low as 12 percent, the ear can hit the header and shatter. So it may never actually enter the combine."  

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