• Agriculture Technology

How to Use Tech Tools to Predict Corn Drydown

Close up of mature corn cob on the stalk prior to harvest.

The need to monitor drydown trends in your cornfields comes at one of the busiest times of the season. Prioritizing sample collection and stand assessment in every field is difficult with only so many hours in the day. Let tech give you a global perspective and help put your mind at ease.

Why use tech to predict corn drydown?

The lower the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), the lower the amount of chlorophyll in the corn plant and the less biomass in the crop as a whole. Having low-NDVI fields means these plants are drying down faster, so you can determine which ones to begin harvesting first. Tech tools can help you monitor crop vigor and moisture from your tablet so you can get an overview of all your fields and plan for an ordered and timely harvest. Crop modeling tools, like R7® Field Forecasting Tool for instance, can provide helpful harvest insights by forecasting your corn crop’s grain moisture percentage.
Using technology to track your cornfields over time can reveal different rates of drying and allow you to further refine your harvest plans. For example, two fields may both be at 25% moisture on a given day, but a week later, the tool may show that one field has dried much faster than the other and should be moved up in your harvest schedule.

Knowing how quickly your corn crop is drying down, especially if your area has an exceptionally rainy harvest season, can help you forecast how much propane you’ll need. Tapping the R7 Field Forecasting Tool for this information can help you be more efficient. Using this technology to target the fields you and your agronomist need to scout and moisture test, rather than driving many miles to sample every single field, can potentially save you time and money.

Pair tools for improved outcomes

Use the R7 Field Monitoring Tool to keep tabs on plant health. The imagery allows you to see trends in declining vigor and moisture levels. Following up with the R7 Field Forecasting Tool helps predict drydown speed and allows you to prioritize fields for harvest.

Verify the findings

I’ve worked with several farmers in the past who used the R7 Field Monitoring Tool to find out which of their cornfields would be ready to harvest first. Then, they used the Field Forecasting Tool to ascertain the moisture level of that grain according to the model. To see if these results were ringing true, they also scouted and used a hand moisture tester. The results matched.
The farmers told me they value the benefits of tech to help them make these decisions, and they looked forward to using this process and these tools in future harvest seasons to predict grain moisture drydown. The R7 Field Forecasting Tool even indicates when corn will be going into black layer and how the season will finish.
Especially in seasons with challenging planting and growing conditions, understanding harvest timing can provide a sense of certainty to help inform decisions. As the season winds down and your time becomes increasingly limited, mining the layers of information in crop modeling tools like the R7 Field Monitoring Tool and R7 Field Forecasting Tool can help you prioritize your harvest order, target applications and get the best yields of quality corn. For more information and to find out how to gain access to these tools, talk with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer.

All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

This article was originally published in September 2019 and was updated in September 2021.
© 2021 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices, and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years, and be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. R7® and WinField® are trademarks of WinField United.

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