Will this corn ever dry in the field??

Aside from the numerous comments in support of- and against (my apologies, Blue Moon fans…)- my prohibition of fruit slices in beer, the next hottest topic I am getting asked about is “with it being so cool, will this corn ever dry down?!”  I wish I had a rock solid answer.  But, much like adding fruit slices to beer, there are slight differences in opinions on how much, and how fast, our corn will dry in the field.

My best understanding- and I get the best info from our own Dr. Roger Elmore and Lori Abendroth- is this; estimating dry down rates can be considered in terms of Growing Degree Days (GDDs). Generally, it takes 30 GDDs to lower grain moisture each point from 30% down to 25%. Drying from 25 to 20 percent requires about 45 GDDs per point of moisture. In September we typically average about 10 to 15 GDDs per day, so hopefully the weather will straighten out and help us get the crop out dry and in good time.

In October as temperatures drop, the rate drops to 5-10 GDDs per day.

However, both these estimates are based on generalizations, and it is likely that some hybrids vary from this pattern of drydown.

Some past OSU research evaluating corn drydown provides more insight on the effects of weather conditions on grain drying. During a warm, dry fall, grain moisture loss per day ranged from 0.76 to 0.92%. During a cool, wet fall, grain moisture loss per day ranged from 0.32 to 0.35%.  (So… let’s hope for a warming trend…)

Grain moisture losses based on GDDs ranged from 24 to 29 GDDs per percentage point of moisture (i.e., a loss of one percentage point of grain moisture per 24 to 29 GDD) under warm dry fall conditions, whereas under cool wet fall conditions, a one point moisture loss ranged from 20 to 22 GDD. The number of GDDs associated with grain moisture loss was lower under cool, wet conditions than under warm, dry conditions.  Roger- any idea why??

I recall the fall of ’92- sort of like this year, we had a cool summer.  Grain yields were good, but we just couldn’t seem to get the corn to dry in the field to much below 18-20% no matter how long we left it out there.  We ran extra trucks that year, and everyone who could drive an LP truck at our location helped haul LP that year, it was so hard to keep up.  I was hoping that was an abnormality, but that experience lines up with some great info that Roger and Dr. Charles Hurburgh shared in the ICM News-


So, we will have to deal with decisions about getting the dryers fired up rather than relying on the corn drying in the field.  Standability is another wildcard this year.  Each season we go have gone through a wet spring that can make our corn more prone to diseases we talk about potential stalk rot.  For the most part, the last few years we have dodged that bullet- again, this year we need to watch for stalk issues.  That issue we can hit in another entry.

So, I had so much feedback about the random thoughts from my last blog, why not do it again-

-In some limited circumstances, one can add fruit slices to beer- I stand corrected, thank you blog readers.

-A big “thank you” to Nelson Farm Supply for letting us practice pick off rescues on their towers.

-On a serious note- 9-11-01.  Never Forget.

-Have a safe fall.

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