Check Drought-stressed Ears For Corn Yield Potential

Drought stress makes it crucial to assess pollination now and decide whether to wait for grain harvest or salvage for silage.

Published on: Jul 23, 2012

Estimating silage yield is trickier, concedes Roth. "But we often divide the yield by 6.5 to 7.0 to get a ball park estimate of the yield in tons per acre at 65% moisture. This is quite variable though, since the bushels/ton can vary, especially in years like this when the plants may be shorter than normal."

A bit of good news

In Pennsylvania, agronomists have generally been surprised at the success of pollination in a lot of early corn. "This tells us that we have significant recovery potential from the early drought stress in some fields," says Roth.

Getting a good estimate early of the yield potential provides some idea of potential for marketing the crop as grain or for future forage needs. Note the maturity stage now, though.

Corn is ready to chop 35 to 45 days following silking. That means with the early maturity of some corn this year, silage harvest will be exceptionally early. And chopping that silage at peak forage quality will be hugely critical this year.