Scout Fields, Check Combine For Better Yields And Safe Harvest

Evaluating no-till stands, residue and equipment can help you improve profitability at harvest-time this fall and for years to come.

Harvest last year was a real challenge for many no-tillers as crops didn’t dry out and harvest was late. In many cases, this didn’t allow much time during the harvest to assess overall no-till management.

Hopefully, harvest will be on a more normal time frame this year, but regardless, it’s still worth spending some time in fields just before harvest. This will let you evaluate and record how your management decisions worked out.

Going through combine wear points and settings can also benefit your no-till system. Correcting wear areas and adjusting settings now will help minimize combine downtime and help maximize its performance.

Try to minimize crop losses. Manage and process residue uniformly to prepare for next year’s planting season.

Stand Evaluation And Ear Fill

field

Now is a good time to assess final stands and ear count and their uniformity. (See accompanying photo.)

If the uniformity of ears and stands falls short of expectations, keep a close eye on your crop from the combine. Think about what changes to make for next year’s planting and fertility program.

Managing Residue And Equipment

Before harvesting, check to see how well you managed residue in previous years. Managing residue properly should consist of:

Spreading material evenly and along the full width of the header or platform.

Using aggressive corn stalk rolls, usually with knives for no-till.

Harvesting only as low as necessary to capture all the ears, but as high as possible to leave stalks standing to reduce ground cover.

Adjusting the pitch…

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Leverich_jim

Jim Leverich

Jim Leverich no-tills near Sparta, Wis., and serves as an onfarm research coordinator for the University of Wisconsin.

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