Moisture, mold and mud are the three big things impacting the farmers during the 2009 harvest.
With all the rain we have had in the past few months, there is no surprise that farmers are facing mud when trying to get into the fields.
Mud is just a minor problem when compared to the other two things impacting harvest.
The first one is moisture. Right now, moisture content is higher than what is desired. What farmers need to remember is that typically, moisture decreases very, very slowly from late October onward. By mid-to-late November, dry down rates typically drop to about 0-0.25 percent per day for corn. Therefore, changes in moisture content will be minimal when the crop is left in the field.
With all the weather issues farmers have faced throughout the whole year, Mother Nature is not letting up. Instead, she is now making farmers face corn ear rots. Fields that have significant amounts of the rot should be harvested as early as possible. The two rots that are of concern are Diplodia and Gibberella (gib). Diplodia is characterized by bleached husks with tiny black spots. Gib can be readily identified in the field on intact ears by looking for pink to reddish mold that begins at the tip and develops toward the base. Gib ear rot can produce two toxins, deoxynivalenol (DON, vomitoxin) an zearalenone. Swine are especially sensitive to these two toxins. Therefore, it is a good idea to have your corn tested this harvest.
The moisture, mold, and mud can be dealt with by another "m" word, management.
To help farmers manage all the programs that are occurring, Purdue Extension Specialists have put together information for crop and livestock producers on how to deal with the many problems they have and will be facing as a result of the wet fall.
"Managing the 2009 Harvest: Resources for Drying, Storing, Grain Quality, Crop Insurance and Marketing" is available to anyone that would like to receive a copy. It is available at your local Purdue Extension office or by downloading the "Harvest Update" document from the Ag and Natural Resource section of the Purdue Extension website at www.ces.purdue.edu/clay or www.ces.purdue.edu/owen.
Included in the publication is contact information for specialists at Purdue University as well as various websites that address many of the problems in detail.
In addition to the "Managing the 2009 Harvest: Resources for Drying, Storing, Grain Quality, Crop Insurance and Marketing" document, there are a few strategies farmers might consider when dealing with harvest problems.
If you want to test for DON, there are a variety of commercial laboratories and quick test kits for mycotoxin analysis. Test strips for toxin analysis can be purchased from Romer labs and Neogen. Two grain inspectors in central and north-central Indiana that analyze grain for DON include: East Indiana Grain Inspection, Inc., in Muncie, and Titus Grain Inspection, Inc., in West Lafayette.
One possible way to prevent the reoccurrence of Gib ear rot is by tilling after a corn rotation. Rotation out of corn will allow infected residue to degrade, reducing the presence of the casual fungus. Also check with your local seed dealer when selecting your corn variety for next year since corn hybrids vary in their resistance.
The history books will say that 2009 was a rough year for farmers. They faced a delayed planting, cool summer, early freeze and a rainy fall, which all combined to moisture, mold and mud problems. Luckily, farmers can find some help with managing the problems by obtaining a copy of the resource document from their local Purdue Extension Office by calling 448-9041 in Clay County or 829-5020 in Owen County.
If you would like to contact me directly, I can be reached at either of the two numbers listed above or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
* Nov. 10, 17 and 24 -- Animal Emergency Management: Preparedness and Prevention miniseries, Purdue Extension Clay County office, 6:30-8 p.m.,
* Nov. 20 -- Fall Achievement Program, Clay County, 7 p.m.,
* No. 24 -- Reality Store at Owen Valley Middle School,
* Dec. 8 -- Nuisance Wildlife, Purdue Extension Clay County Office, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 7:30-9:30 p.m. (RSVP by Dec. 1, 812-448-9041), and
* Dec. 10 -- Crop Management Conference, Beef House in Covington, 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m. (cost $15 plus additional fees for PARP and other credits, RSVP by Dec. 4 at 812-462-3371).