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When to harvest dent corn?  RSS feed

 
Dougan Nash
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Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland
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So this is my first year growing corn in general. I decided to grow bloody butcher corn because I am a bigger fan of polenta and hominy than I am sweet corn. The ears look ready, should I break them off now and dry them? Or do I leave them on the plant until fall, like I see farmers do with feed corn?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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I leave dent corns in the field to dry as long as possible. Because in the field they are spread out so that they can dry effectively. If I harvest them a bit wet then I have to spread them out under cover, and/or turn them regularly so that they don't mold as they finish drying. Depends of course: I live in a very dry climate.

I intend 'As long as possible' to mean that if the corn is likely to be damaged in the field, then I consider it better to harvest it a bit damp. For example if I'm expecting lots of rain or I have to irrigate I'll pick the dent corn any time after the shucks are 'mostly dry'. If predators are eating lots of seed I might harvest earlier. I harvest before hard frosts because I mostly grow seeds for replanting. Damp seeds can be damaged by frost.
 
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