The farmer's daughter poured the sample from the semi into the grain tester in their grain bin office. It ran 15.5%. He asked her to test it again because he thought it was closer to 17%. The next time it was 16.5%. Moisture tester might not be perfect, and samples can vary- one of those was form the front of the semi, the other from the back. Either way, two weeks earlier the farmer started with corn around 24%.
Those who switched to beans or waited on corn may have been the big winners. They benefitted from a dry early October and several windy days. Drying 16% corn, if you even choose to dry it instead of aerate it to dry it, is much cheaper than paying to dry 24% corn.
That was then. This is now. November is one week away. Experts who calculate these things say that in a typical November, unless an Indian Summer extends into the first few days of November, drying rates quickly drop to 0.25 points per day. Depending upon conditions, removal rate may become zero at some point, especially as the calendar moves deeper into the month and temperatures tend to be cooler.
Letting corn stand longer will also risk harvest losses should a windstorm knock over weakened stalks, or if there is an early snow. Today's heads are much better at salvaging down corn than heads of even two decades ago, but you won't get every ear. Also, ear droppage in hybrids in fields that were especially stressed during the season have been reported since the end of September.
The good news, says Ken Scheeringa, assistant climatologist for Indiana based at Purdue University, is that the first hard freeze, or 28 degree reading, tended to come at normal times, or may be later than normal. That means even corn planted in June should have reached physiological maturity before its growth was or is stopped by a freeze. Technically, weather people call 32 degrees F a freeze. Scheeringa uses 25 degrees because it takes readings that low to truly shut down many plants, including many weeds.With corn reaching black layer, it should be easier to handle, and much of it should have dried to reasonable levels, even if it doesn't get to 16 or 17%. When it went into the ground last June, some feared they might be dealing with corn that was extremely wet at harvest.