• Agriculture Technology
  • Aug 29, 2017

Identifying Peak Maturity

With harvest rapidly approaching, crop development is heading into the home stretch. Now’s the time to keep a close eye on crop maturity and moisture levels to help identify the right time for harvest. Knowing when crops have reached peak moisture will help you ensure optimum quality and yield potential. 
Start monitoring early
Well before physiological maturity, you and your WinField United advisor can start by using ag technology tools to monitor field drydown trends to help determine field harvest order. Our R7® Field Forecasting Tool works with the R7® Field Monitoring Tool, looking at individual fields and then comparing progress on multiple fields.
Using imagery comparisons, the Field Monitoring Tool keeps tabs on plant health. A field that is drying down shows lower vigor and decreasing moisture levels, and shows a downward trend in the Field Monitoring Tool. The Field Forecasting Tool will help predict the speed of drydown in each field. This information gives you the opportunity to prioritize fields for preharvest scouting, measuring moisture levels and planning harvest order.
Measure moisture levels
As harvest draws near, it’s time to get into fields and measure moisture levels. Typically, corn moisture has been measured by hand-picking a few ears after ear drop and running them through a moisture scale. A more broad-scale test can be done in the combine’s cab after picking a couple of rows of corn. While the combine method offers a wider sampling, it’s not always practical to run the combine for just a couple of rows.
For corn, 22 to 25 percent kernel moisture is the optimal harvest window. Ideal soybean moisture levels at harvest are between 13 and 15 percent. Because earlier hybrids and varieties reach maturity sooner than others, it’s important to closely monitor development well before physiological maturity is reached to help prepare your harvest game plan.
Compare results
As harvest proceeds, ask your WinField United advisor to join you in the combine and compare your yield potential maps within the R7® Tool with your real-time yield map. This is an excellent way to note higher and lower productivity areas in each field and start planning for next season.