Many growers recognize the harvest benefits of certain equipment during harvest, but the benefits of crop protection inputs that help speed up harvest in corn are often overlooked or underestimated. That's the observation of Nick Fassler, technical market manager for BASF Crop Protection. The company had that message for farmers at its exhibit at the recent 2011 Farm Progress Show.
"Harvest season can be a grueling process complicated by unpredictable challenges," he notes. "There a variety of ways growers can balance the uncontrollable and unforeseen by creating harvest efficiencies. And while procuring and maintaining harvesting equipment is an important and obvious way to minimize harvest-related stress, there are other ways that can help."
Use of crop protection products at the proper time during the growing season, including herbicides and fungicides, can speed up harvest by controlling weeds and diseases, providing growers with clean fields and a stronger-standing crop. These inputs can also increase efficiency in combining to save growers time and money at the end of the season.
Crop protection inputs can help Iowa growers speed up corn harvest
"In addition to providing effective disease control, Headlinefungicide and Headline AMPfungicide deliver better standability in corn, which can positively influence the speed and efficiency of harvest at the end of the season," he says.
In over 70 on-farm trials in Illinois when lodging was experienced, untreated corn acres showed more than 25% lodging at the time of harvest, enough to seriously impact the speed at which a combine can pick the crop. In that same trial, fields treated with Headline fungicide showed less than 10% lodging, a difference visible to the eye.
There are also great cost savings associated with standability and speed of harvest, says Fassler. In the lodging trial, the treated field was harvested at a speed of 3 mph, compared to 5 mph for the untreated field. On a 1,000 acre field, that difference of 2 mph would save a grower more than 55 hours of harvest time. This would also translate to more than $3,000 saved on fuel costs based on $3.80 per gallon diesel fuel. And, of course, these savings increase in significance as the number of acres farmed increases.
Weed control is another often over-looked factor affecting harvest pace
Proper weed control is also an important factor that impacts the speed of harvest, Fassler points out. Escaped weeds can grow to the point where they can clog up–and even ruin–equipment. "The use of an effective pre-emergent herbicide enables growers to start clean with a strong foundation of weed control," he adds. "This foundation of control provides growers with a wider, more effective window for postemergence applications keeping fields cleaner at harvest."
"Growers who properly manage weeds and diseases in their crops are reaping additional financial benefits through an efficient harvest," sums up Fassler.