As if rain delays weren’t frustrating enough during harvest, a broad swath of Eastern Iowa experienced extremely powerful winds during the August 10, 2020, Derecho storm, which damaged crops and left a lot of valuable grain on the ground. Many farmers were worried about being able to harvest the crop given the tough conditions.

“I’m seeing some fields where the stalks were snapped off above the ear,” was a common statement from farmers who were impacted by the storm.


Adjust Your Corn head approach angle

In down corn, Marion often recommends flattening the angle of the corn head to approximately 20 degrees, which helps get the poly snouts under the flattened crop.

In some fields, it may be beneficial to approach the field on the downwind side, to go against the crop, so the snouts can more easily get under the canopy.  You feel desperate but don’t over-react.  You can continue to modify your header to address the specific failures you’re seeing from the cab.  If the snoots are not getting under those stalks, try adding some weight to hold them down

Checking the fields in preparation will also help prioritize the areas to harvest first.

Combine Adjustments

Marion Calmer, a farmer and the founder of Calmer Agronomic Research Center in Lynn Center, IL, shares his recommendations for harvesting down corn in step by step detail. Make just a couple of tweaks on the combine or corn head may be all you need to save hours and lower stress during your fight to harvest a downed crop or in adverse conditions.