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Making Decisions About Running Poor Corn

Making Decisions About Running Poor Corn
How low does yield go before you don't run it?

We assume the farmers with the Crop Watch '12 field will combine it. We know up to 40% of the field could approach 100 bushels per acre. Yet one stretch we walked through while checking yield had runs as long as 300 feet without an ear.

The problem in these kinds of fields is the slightest change in soil type made a difference. Yield would go from zero to 10 and then back to zero or one or two within 100 feet. Some guys with contracts to fill are determined to run the entire field, no matter what, so they get every bushel they can. It's one less bushel they will have to pay the difference on between fall delivery price and contract price, assuming they contracted at a much lower price.

RUN IT OR RUN AWAY? Shut your eyes and run it, some say, especially if there is better corn on either end of the field. In this case, there is, and there are also good patches of corn in the Crop Watch field, sometimes in the middle of the field.

We've received several reports of fields where the yield monitor goes from zero to 50 or zero to 150 within the same field. It's not practical to try to pick and choose what you harvest in those situations.

However, we've heard a case where someone ran a whole field, obviously hoping for better, but wound up with one bushel per acre. Even at $8, a fading prospect after the Sept. 12 crop report, it may barely cover expenses. The only good news is farmers are saying it takes very little fuel to run through poor corn with little fodder and even less grain. So if it's your combine and you're not paying a rental charge for the combine, it may be worth running even if the yield is minimal.

If you're harvesting good corn, fuel expense with high diesel prices could be a different story. But the increased price of corn compared to what you would have expected last spring should more than offset higher fuel costs for running fair to good corn.

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