For many gardeners or farmers, the question remains: when is it better to harvest corn. There may be several answers, since the period depends on the purpose of the crop (for cooking, for silage, or for grain), the variety and climate of a particular region. In our article we describe the methods and timing of harvesting corn.
Terms of cleaning
For your own consumption, I mean boiled cobs, start harvesting in the phase of milk maturity. In this case, the collected cabbages are immediately subjected to heat treatment or the grain is taken and preserved.
Note!You can determine the exact time of harvesting by the dried edges of the leaf wrapper or by black hair. When pressing the nail on the seeds, the shell should burst and leak milky liquid.
If corn is grown to produce grain, which will be used in feed for domestic animals and poultry, then it is necessary to start harvesting the crop in question in September, as a last resort, in October (meaning the use of late-ripening varieties). During this period, the seeds must have a minimum moisture content and be hard.
The green mass of the culture under consideration, silage, begins to be harvested in the wax ripening phase of the grain, when the leaves are still green. In the southern part of our country, such work is carried out at the end of the summer, but in some regions harvesting of corn for silage may occur in November, and especially if farmers grow late-ripening varieties. Harvesting is carried out with the help of special combines, which chop the plants and feed the green mass into vehicles.
In order to obtain high-quality seed material, harvesting must be fully completed before the first frost. In the case when the heads of cabbages are used for cooking or canning, their harvesting begins in the phase of milk maturity, and each of the cobs must be torn off manually. This method is usually practiced by gardeners who are engaged in growing table or dessert varieties of corn.
The main task of harvesting corn for grain is the minimum amount of yield loss, as well as the maximum dry matter content in the seeds.
Important!According to experienced farmers, harvesting can be started with a dry weight content of seeds of at least 60%.
Such indicators can be determined without special equipment, visually. When inspecting the base of the grains, you can notice a black layer in the place where the grain fits to the cob. Grain harvesting can be started at higher humidity levels, but in this case, the raw materials undergo additional processing in sushi to reach a moisture level of 12%.
As shown by numerous studies, the proportion of broken grain and weed seeds, as well as other heavy parts, is reduced by 2.5% with a decrease in humidity of only 1%. If the grain moisture content is 35%, then the battle share can reach up to 10%. To reduce the moisture in the seeds of some farmers practiced cleaning in the winter or spring. This makes it possible to achieve the required level of grain moisture.
Many people know that corn seeds do not crumble, and this makes it possible to minimize crop losses. In the southern regions of our country, harvesting of corn is started when the grain moisture is in the range of 16-18%. In this case, the heads of cabbage can be sent to the storage without additional drying, although in other regions of Russia the moisture content of seeds during the harvesting period can reach 20.30 and even 40%.
If the grain will be used as a seed, harvesting should be stopped before the first autumn frosts. Research has established that seeds lose their germination at high humidity, which appears along with frosts. In addition to moisture, fungal diseases will also act on corn, they reduce the nutritional value of the crop.
Harvesting silage corn
Silage obtained from corn is considered one of the main types of feed for cattle. Sowing seeds for grain and silage is carried out in the same time frame, but the technology of silage harvesting is slightly different.
To mow and chop the green mass start in the phase of wax maturity of the culture. During this period, the plant does not dry the greens and accumulates the maximum percentage of dry matter (about 60% on the cob and 30-35% for the whole plant). Corn mowing is carried out with the help of special equipment, for example, with the KSS 2.6 harvester. This unit provides a continuous flow of greens in vehicles.
Note!Crop stalks are cut at a height of 20 centimeters from the soil level, which reduces the amount of green mass produced, but improves the quality of the silage.
Impact of timing on quality and quantity
The quality and volume of harvested corn for grain or silage will be affected by the time of harvesting and the machinery used for this. From these factors will depend on such parameters as:
- grain loss volumes,
- the number of damaged grains
- moisture blanks.
There are developed recommendations for the optimal timing and duration of harvesting corn, compliance with which can significantly reduce losses (they will not exceed 2-2.5%) and achieve a high quality product. Especially significant will be the loss during freezing of cereal crops and at the same time raising the humidity. The grain picks up moisture, the cobs become heavy, and, accordingly, the stem of the plant bends. As a result, we have lodged plants or sagging cobs, which are difficult to remove by technique. And the product itself is spoiled, catching diseases in such favorable conditions.
In this way, if the harvest time is late, grain losses will increase three to four times. In addition, there will be a large amount of impurities, spoiled grains. Such material will no longer be suitable for landing, and its marketability will be much lower. An important condition for collecting high-quality harvest is the right technique. First of all, it is necessary to correctly adjust the cutting height of the stems - it is necessary that it be adjusted at the level of 10-15 cm from the ground. Such a setting will prevent the spread of the pest of the corn moth.
Farmers, in order to remove this grain crop, resort to the use of combine harvesters (of all types), which have a tangential or axial threshing apparatus.
Corn is harvested for corn in two ways:
- cutting the cob (with or without cleansing),
- threshing grain.
In the cob, the grain crop is harvested for food and seeds, in grains - for fodder.
The silage plant is harvested by a forage harvester that separates and shreds the stems and plunges them into the vehicle.
When to harvest corn
The timing and duration of the harvest of the grain plant, the process of harvesting and the equipment used will vary depending on whether it is going to be harvested for grain or silage.
With this method of harvesting, the main goals are to lose and damage the grain material as little as possible, as well as to harvest the corn with the largest percentage of dry matter. This can be ensured by:
- timely cleaning,
- planting hybrids that are resistant to lodging,
- the use of high-quality and properly tuned technology.
Duration of cleaning should be no more than two weeks. Therefore, in order to avoid shortages, as a rule, hybrids that have different ripening terms are sown.
Cleaning for silage also depends on the extent to which the grains matured. Green mass will be the most valuable and nutritious, skewed when the corn seeds have reached the degree of waxy maturity at the very end of the milky-waxy stage. Leaf moisture at this time will be at the level of 65-70% (grains - 35-55%), they will have moderate acidity and sufficient sugar content. Grain in this period will accumulate the maximum amount of starch. At earlier cleaning in a silo there will be much less nutrients. With late mowing, the silage mass will become hard and dry. And when the content in the green mass of dry matter more than 30% of the silage will be poorly absorbed by the cattle. Whereas, for example, at the stage of waxy maturity, the green mass will be able to provide cattle with energy by 20% and not affect the productivity of milk production.
Agrotechnical requirements for harvesting silage:
- cutting height - 10 cm
- loss of green mass after the combine - 1.5%,
- the number of particles of the desired length is 70%.
- on the cob,
- in the grain.
Before placing the cobs for storage, they must be carefully sifted, the leaves removed and dried well to a moisture content of 13-14%.
Granules for storage are poured into plastic containers, cardboard boxes or fabric bags. When placed in bags, it is important to ensure that they are not saturated with moisture, otherwise the seeds will lose their ability to germinate. Corn with this method is stored in unheated premises. Shelf life is two years. Its humidity should be no more than 13%.
You can also store grains in canned form, because in this case they do not lose their useful properties and nutritional value. In this way, you can store grain with a moisture content of 30%.
In the freezer, the cobs are placed after pre-treatment - they are dipped alternately in ice and hot boiled water for two or three minutes. Then they are well dried and wrapped with cling film. So the corn will contain the greatest quantity of nutrients and useful substances and can be stored all winter period.
Corn is an important product in human and animal nutrition. To get high-quality, nutritious food and feed, you need to clean this grain crop in the proposed timeframe and not go beyond the recommended long-term harvesting framework.
Stage of ripeness of corn
Corn is harvested at different times, which depend on the intended purpose of the crop. There are several stages of maturity of the grain crop:
- The stage of milky ripeness is distinguished by light whitish grains on the cob. They have a high sugar content. If you press on the seeds, then a white, sweet juice will appear. They taste sweet, tender and juicy. Leaves tightly cob, and it becomes difficult to separate them. The hair is soft, moist, at the base of a brown shade. It is better to collect such corn manually. It can be eaten both raw and cooked.
- The onset of the wax stage can be recognized by the light yellow color of the grains, within which there is no liquid anymore. To the touch, they are of medium density, if you press on the seeds, a dent remains on them. As ripening density increases. The amount of starch increases in grains. Sugar, which is part of the grain, begins to turn into starch, and the juice turns into pulp.
- Biological ripeness is characterized by rich yellow or orange color of the grains. The leaves, fitting the cob, begin to turn yellow and dry, they are easy to separate. The hair becomes brown and dry. Corn at this stage of maturity is harvested by a combine, and the main purpose is to manufacture silage for herbivores.
At the stage of grain formation, the moisture level is almost 90%. In the stage of milky ripeness, the level of grain moisture on the cob is 58%; during the period of wax ripeness, the moisture content of the seeds is about 37%. At full maturity of corn, the grains become hard, and the humidity is no more than 25%.
How to grow corn?
General rules that will help grow a good harvest.
Developed optimal timelines recommended for harvesting corn from the field. If you comply with them, then there will be minimal losses and high quality of the harvest.
Crop field crop losses increase when harvested after frost and during increased humidity. Grain is gaining moisture, the cobs become heavy, and as a result the stems rot and bend. To collect agricultural machinery such cobs becomes problematic.
Two main methods of harvesting:
- cutting the cob, which can either be accompanied by peeling leaves, or not,
- cleaning with simultaneous threshing of grain.
The mechanical unit for processing grain crops allows you to harvest, thresh cobs and chop plants. Combine harvesters are used for grain harvesting (Khersonets, KOP-1, combine harvester with the prefix PPK-4). Together with this technique is also used header. It differs from other aggregates in that the device for treating the stems and leaves is small. Corn for silage is harvested with forage harvesters.
How to understand that it's time to harvest?
Terms of ripening of a crop depend on a grade, climatic and weather features. Corn is harvested most often in early August; by this time, the corn stigma becomes brown.
Certain signs will help to collect the corn for fresh consumption. If the stigma inside the leaf is still greenish, and the outside is brown, then the corn is in the milky-wax stage of development. If you gently press on the grain, then it will be milky, sweet juice. In such cobs concentrated maximum amount of nutrients, they can be used fresh or used for cooking.
If the grain crop is intended for silage production, then the harvesting of corn is started after the onset of wax ripeness. In the southern regions of the country, this period coincides with the last days of August. In some areas, cleaning can be done in November. By this time, the moisture content of the green mass may exceed 70%. For popcorn, biological ripening is expected when the grains become hard.
If it is intended to use corn as a planting material, it is recommended to wait until the leaves turn yellow and dry. The harvest for a month is placed in a cool place until fully ripe. Once the grains are completely dry, they are transferred to a dry, glass container.
If the grains for planting do not have time to collect before frost, then they lose their germination, and the risk of fungal diseases increases. As a result, the nutritional value and quantity of the crop is reduced.
Harvesting corn for fresh consumption
When growing corn, there are several signs when to harvest. Here the main thing to guess the onset of milky ripeness. Signs:
- Cobs deviate sideways from a stalk. The leaves fit tightly cob, they are green.
- The first to collect the cobs, which are closer to the top. They ripen faster.
- The hair should turn brown and become dry. If they are wet and reddish, then the stage of milk maturity has not yet arrived.
- Seeds should be white-yellowish. When pressing on the grain juice should be white, not transparent. If the juice has become thick, and the color of the grains is dark yellow, then the stage of milky ripeness is missed. Such seeds lose juiciness and sweetness.
- The ear is easily separated from the stem by hand.
Since sugar quickly turns into starch, after harvesting the corn must be eaten, otherwise the taste and sweetness is lost. You can extend the taste by placing the cobs in the fridge.
A grain crop is harvested on the cob or with simultaneous threshing of the cob. For fresh use, the procedure does not make sense.
How to collect corn for popcorn?
For the manufacture of popcorn planting special varieties of popcorn (Vulcan, Vnuchkina joy, Erlikon, Hotel).
Corn harvesting of popcorn is started only after the onset of the biological stage of maturity. By this time, the leaves and stems become yellow, dry up, panicles acquire a dark brown shade.
Be sure to harvest before the onset of frost, otherwise the harvested corn will not be suitable for making popcorn. It is better to tear off the cob from the stem by hand.
После уборки зерновой кукурузы початки очищают от листьев и распределяют на тканевой поверхности в теплом, сухом месте с хорошей вентиляцией. Початки должны остаться частично влажными внутри.
Чтобы проверить готовность зерновой культуры к производству попкорна, необходимо периодически несколько зерен разогревать на сковородке. If the seeds open completely, then all the cobs are ready. After that, the crop is moved to a cool place.
Harvesting corncobs for grain
Harvesting corn for grain is carried out by special combine harvesters during the period of biological ripeness. At this point in the cob should be dry matter is not less than 60%, and in the grain is not less than 70%. The higher the proportion of dry matter in the grain, the better. Corn varieties of grain: Spirit, Pioneer, Syngenta, Dobrynya, Trophy, Sundance.
You should not start harvesting with high moisture content in the grains. At this time, the level of various impurities increases, and the commercial quality of products is lost.
During the harvesting of corn for grain it is necessary to comply with a number of agrotechnical requirements:
- cut plants need to be at a distance of 15 cm from the ground,
- when harvesting with a grain combine, you need to ensure that on the cob no more than 5–7% of grains are damaged,
- if special combines are used, the number of damaged grains should not exceed 1.5%.
As a result of harvesting by a combine, more than 90% of the cobs are already clean of leaves.
Features of harvesting silage corn
Corn on the cob, which was removed at the end of the dairy stage or at the beginning of wax ripeness, when the leaves are still green, is considered the most valuable. These cobs contain many useful components for livestock. Humidity in grains is about 70%.
Begin to harvest corn with special equipment. Permissible dry matter content of 30%. Leaf moisture should be at the level of 68%, moisture in the grain - 45-50%. The plant is mowed at a distance of 20 cm from the ground; all parts of the plant, including the kernels, must be fragmented. The size of the parts must not exceed 7 mm.
The resulting silage in the form of well-compacted briquettes is folded into pre-prepared trenches. This will improve the quality of the product and increase the shelf life.
Nutritional value of corn seeds per 100 grams
100 g of corn seeds contain 360 kcal. The protein content is 9 g, fat 5 g, carbohydrate 70 g, fiber 7 g. Among the nutrients are vitamins (vitamins of group B, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E), micro- and macronutrients (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium) , amino acids (alanine, valine, methionine). In addition, it contains saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
The appearance of the plant will tell you when it is better to remove the corn. The leaves become light green, the edges dry out. Cobs are picked selectively, as they do not all ripen at the same time. Collection lasts about two weeks. It is not necessary to collect the cob too soon or too late.
You can keep corn on the cob. Cobs should be in a cool, dark place where the humidity of the air is not more than 15%. The cobs are cleaned of leaves, sorted and dried. The bulk of the harvested grain from dry cobs should be easily separated from the base.
You can store in grain. With this method of storage, you need to prepare in advance plastic or glass containers, cardboard boxes or fabric bags.
Store the corn in the seeds should be in a cool, protected from pests and diseases. If the grain is supposed to be used as planting material, it is better to collect the cobs by hand.
How is silage corn harvested - timing and features
Nutritiousness, physical qualities and chemical composition of green mass largely depends on the stage at which the grain begins to ripen and the silage harvest begins. The most valuable nutritional qualities are silage obtained during the harvesting of corn at the stage of wax ripeness of corn kernels or at the end of the milky-wax stage. The moisture content of the grains during this period is about 65-70%, the sugar content is sufficient, the acidity of the silage is moderate.Corn is harvested for silage using a KSS-2.6 type harvester with an additional tool PNP-2.4.
If harvesting is done earlier in the development of corn, there is a significant loss of nutrients. So, at the beginning of the milky-wax stage, due to too high moisture of the grains and noticeable loss of dry weight, the silage is more strongly acidified, about 5% of the dry substances flow out along with the juice.
Silage harvested at the stage of waxy ripeness of corn kernels, as feed, provides animals with energy by 20%, allowing to reduce the cost of concentrated feed, while the productivity of dairy cattle does not fall. High-quality corn silage is especially useful when feeding high-yielding cows, as it provides the animals with the need for energy, contributing to the production of milk in large volumes and makes it possible to significantly save on concentrates.
Corn harvesting video
- the plants are cut at a height of more than 20 cm to improve the quality of the silage (although the weight of the crop drops)
- during grinding each grain must be crushed,
- the length of the parts of the plant should not exceed 6 mm,
- dry matter is allowed to be about 30%.
Corn is harvested for silage using a KSS-2,6 type combine with the PNP-2.4 accessory, on which a pick-up is hung for picking up rolls and grinding.
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The light green color of the plant and the dried leaves at the edges will prompt when it has matured. Grains should not be crumpled and wrinkled. When squeezing the grain should be milky white liquid. Cleaning is done selectively, because all the cobs can not sleep at the same time. Collection lasts about two weeks. If you wait a little, the grain may lose its qualities: food and taste. It will become hard, wrinkled and hard to boil.
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Terms and signs
If corn grows in a country house or a plot, its maturity is determined very simply when the wrapper leaves just begin to dry, the cob is torn off, the seeds are crushed, and the milky liquid flows out. This phase of milk maturity, grain moisture is in the range of 50-60%.
The grains at this time are light yellow, soft, sweetish in taste, well suited for fresh consumption, for cooking and preservation. Plucked cobs are not stored for a long time, they are immediately boiled or processed. Depending on the climate and variety, the dairy maturity of maize comes in July-August.
The next phase - waxy maturity, goes away in about a month. during this period, the grains acquire a more saturated yellow color; there is no longer any dairy liquid in them. Humidity is reduced to 40%, the grains become harder. The starch content is increased by reducing the percentage of sugar.
In the phase of biological maturity, the grains become yellow-orange in color, the leaves turn yellow and dry, easily separated from the cob, and the hairs turn brown. Humidity at 25%. During this period, the cobs are harvested by a combine; after peeling, the grains are used for livestock feed and as seeds.