A farmer in a hard-hit drought area checked his corn fields on one landowner's farm. In the biggest field, about a third of the land was on poorly drained soil. Pollination was still affected due to heat, but he ran the crude yield check using the tried-and-true method, and settled on 50 to 60 bushels per acre as a real possibility in that part of the field.
Then he checked a low-organic matter soil that is naturally poorly drained. He discovered that the low organic matter must have won out over the fact that the soil didn't drain too well and should have conserved moisture. Since this field pollinated the third week of July, it was still a bit early to tell what was pollinated and what was not, or what might abort. He used the shake test promoted by Bob Nielsen, Purdue University Extension corn specialist, and still wasn't too sure about the yield. He settled on 10 to 20 bushels per acre. This made up almost one –third of the field. One small sliver on Miami soil had no ears at all, making the yield estimate easy- zero.
His landlord's reaction (50-50 share lease) was near panic. "Well, what are we going to do with it then?" he said. "Should we find someone to bale it for hay or chop it? Is it even worth driving your combine over? Can you even pay for your fuel?"
Neither party in this case had crop insurance.
Whoa! The tenant calmed him down and explained that if his guesses were anywhere close, by the time you factored in the better corn, it should make 20 to 40 bushels per acre. Even at 20 bushels per acre, if the corn sells at $7 per bushel, that's $140 per acre. If it makes 40 bushels per acre, that's $280 per acre. At 20 yield and $8 corn, it's $160 per acre, or $320 per acre at $8 corn and 40 bushel per acre.
Combining it and hauling off a small crop would only cost $30 per acre, approximately, based on 2012 Purdue custom rates, even if you had it custom harvested.
The tenant finally convinced him they stood still net $110 per acre worst case and $290 per acre best case by combining it. Finding someone to chop it would be tough since there is so much of it around, and baling is expensive and has risks. It would also be hard to price. The obvious choice is to combine it.
Is the corn good? No. Will combining be enjoyable? No. Is it worth combining? Absolutely! Many fields will have pockets of corn on wetter soils that could bump up field averages higher than you might expect.