Harvest Observations

What your corn fields can tell about the season ahead

As another growing season winds down, it is important to keep next year in mind as you harvest this year’s crop. There are key harvest observations you can make now to inform your decisions for next season. The one thing I won’t be talking about is yield – not because it isn’t important. Yield is one of the most important factors in your decision making. For that reason, it tends to be all we focus on. However, yield only tells part of the story. Observations regarding issues such as weed management, standability, and product placement will help direct the best decisions moving forward. 

Weed Management

While harvesting your crop this season, take special notes of weed pressure and escapes on a field by field, crop to crop basis. Knowing where you stand when it comes to weed control and the common escapes on each of your farms directs your crop plan for next year. Whether that be adjusting the trait package you are using or adjusting the herbicide programs by including more modes of action and/or residuals, it is a great time to take notes.  


Standability issues can be caused by various causes throughout the season. Disease, planting density and hybrid/variety weaknesses can all contribute to standability concerns. Taking notes now can help form a game plan for next year. Prior to eliminating a hybrid/variety from consideration for next season, look into what is causing the issue. Is it stalk and root rot, poor root development, density issues or other factors? Take time when harvesting these poor standing fields to dig the roots, split stalks and review planting population recommendations. This helps explain the problems you are seeing and allow you to take actions to mitigate the same risk next season. 


Lastly, make general observations comparing the products utilized across multiple fields in differing conditions. This allows you to fine tune the placement recommendations you and your seed professional made last season. Products that fit every acre are rare; knowing how the products you used this season performed on your farm enables better utilization next season.

Making observations this harvest season will help you succeed in future years. One last tip, make sure you are writing these observations down, I know the harvest season can be long and stressful. To expect anyone to remember the differences field to field is unreasonable. I would recommend starting a harvest notebook that includes observations on weed control, standability, product placement and of course yield! If you have questions on anything covered in this article, please contact your Burrus Representative.