Tuesday, September 3, 2013

From a Kernel to a Chip: August Update

Nebraska State Fair, Husker Football, Husker Harvest Days.... that must mean fall is upon us! It is hard to believe how fast the summer went and how quick fall is approaching. Before we know it, we will be harvesting our fall crops, which includes popcorn, corn, soybeans, and last but not least WHITE corn! However, the crops must mature and dry down before harvest can take place, which looks to be awhile.

August was a different month for us as we saw cool and cloudy weather the first couple of weeks and then went straight to dry and hot weather to finish off the month. While the cooler temps were a nice break from some of the heat we dealt with in July, we could have used the sunshine. In order for plants to grow and produce, they need an adequate amount of sunlight as that is the energy source for the plant. When plants, corn in this case, don't receive that adequate amount of sunlight, it can cause the ears of corn to not fill out completely. I have heard many farmers say they have seen some "tip back" in their fields, which could be from the lack of sunlight, hybrid trait, or both. Tip back is when kernels don't fill out to the tip of the ear of corn. This can lead reduced yields if it is wide spread throughout the field. We have seen some tip back in our white corn fields and I am guessing it had to do with us having mostly cloudy weather the first part of August.

Other than seeing some tip back, the white corn crop looks to be good! I forgot to mention that even though we had cool and cloudy weather, we were very fortunate to catch a couple of rains the first part of August that allowed us to take a few days off from irrigating. Unfortunately though, with the rain came some wind, which leaned the white corn over. Now a few of the fields look mangled up and will be a little more challenging to harvest.

As we move into September, we will complete our irrigation's on the corn crops and run the pivots a time or two on the soybeans. By the middle of September, we should be all done irrigating for the season! This year's harvest looks to be a week or two behind compared to previous years. Most likely we wont see much harvesting taking place until the end of September unless things really start to mature and dry down quick. Only time will tell but until then, the next couple of weeks look to be busy getting projects wrapped up and harvest equipment ready before we get into the full swing of harvest 2013!

Below of pictures of the white corn during August:

With the corn being over 10ft tall, it looks like a jungle in the field!
A nice big ear of white corn!
When I broke the ear of corn in half, this is what person sees. The corn cob in the middle and then rows of kernels all around the cob.
If you look closely at a kernel, you can see the starch line that signifies that is is maturing. As the kernel continues to dry down, the line will move lower and everything above it will become hard.
An ear of white corn that I picked from one of our fields. Hope the rest will look like that one!
What the inside of a kernel looks like!

Be sure to check back on October 1st for the next "From a Kernel to a Chip" blog!

To see my previous "From a kernel to a Chip" updates, click here!

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