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Tips to Manage Corn Dry Down

We’re past the halfway mark of October, and not a lot of harvest progress has been made for Michigan’s corn crop. Between the rain and cool temperatures, conditions haven’t been fit to harvest some of the moister corn.

According to Christopher Bauer a Pioneer agronomist, the 70 degree days we had last week helped dry the corn down 1/3 to a half point of moisture each day. GDUs are few and far between to help dry down.

“One you reach black later, your kernel moisture loss requires approximately 30 GDUs to remove 1 percent grain moisture,” he said. “When you’re between 25 and 30 percent moisture, and once you get to that 20 to 25 percent moisture, you need about 45 GDUs.”

Aside from weather conditions, Bauer says hybrid characteristics can impact dry down.

“Is it a thicker coverage, how tight is the coverage?” he said, “Is it more of an open husk? Are the ears more upright?”

Some farmers might harvest 25 to 30 percent moisture. Bauer says that could be difficult to remove from the cob, and you could get cracked or damaged corn. He suggests making some adjustments to your combine to avoid these issues.

“Maybe shut the cylinder rotor speed near the lower end of the suggested range,” he said. “Possibly set your concave clearance to the widest setting just to get the overall best quality through that combine.”

If you are getting cracked kernels, another option Bauer suggests is low heat drying to avoid scorching the wet grain.