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Variability in Harvest Moisture and Dry-Down in Multi-Hybrid Planting Systems

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 59(5): 1111-1115. (doi: 10.13031/trans.59.11572) @2016
Authors:   Jason K. Ward, W. Brien Henry, Matthew W. Hock
Keywords:   Corn, Dry-down, Field drying, Multi-hybrid, Planting.

Abstract. Significant differences among corn hybrid dry-down rates have been well documented. With the development of multi-hybrid planting systems, these differences become more important because crop moisture content has direct influence on harvest performance, yield estimation, and postharvest management. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to assess field drying performance of commercial corn hybrids across a range a relative maturities and to estimate additional variability that could be added to the production system due to differences in dry-down in a multi-hybrid system. A subset of two adjacent studies in which corn hybrids were planted on the same day, at the same population, and managed with the same practices were selected. Samples were collected weekly at 93, 100, 107, 114, 122, and 129 days after planting. Four ears were randomly collected from each plot, manually shelled, and oven-dried according to standard methods. Calculated wet-basis moisture contents were analyzed using repeated measures in a mixed model. There were significant differences in grain moisture content by hybrid and days after planting. The interaction effects were also significant. As crops approached harvest readiness, there were up to six percentage points of moisture content difference among hybrids. Differences of this magnitude influence yield monitor accuracy and can drastically change harvest and postharvest performance. Regression analysis indicated that the mean drying rate for all hybrids was one percentage point per day. This rate was higher than expected and did not capture differences in instantaneous drying rate that could exacerbate differences in field drying. The magnitude of the differences in moisture content indicates that care must be taken when choosing hybrids to pair in a single field when using multi-hybrid planting systems. Additional measures of drying performance may be needed to minimize unintended downstream effects of harvest variability.

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