Information presented above and where trade names are used, they are supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Ohio State University Extension is implied. Unless you plan on eating them right away, store the ears of corn in a refrigerator, leaving the husks on. They will keep for almost a week. When pricing earlage relative to dry corn grain, one must account for the amount of corn in the earlage, assign some value to the roughage in the earlage and adjust for moisture content.
Immediately after harvest, you should refrigerate and store sweet corn in plastic bags, preferably while still in the husk, to maintain quality. They take advantage of the natural conversion process and don't harvest corn until it's somewhat doughy from the increased starch content.
Farmers use a piece of equipment called a combine to harvest corn. Heirloom dent corns make great cornbread, hominy, and roasting ears. The corn kernels become ripe just about the same time as the silks become brown and shriveled. Therefore, if the sample was 70% moisture, and 65% moisture is the target, harvest about 10 days after the corn was sampled.
However, there is considerable variation in the percent kernel milk line and the moisture percent of the whole plant. The ears should feel firm and the kernels should have a milky or creamy appearance when squeezed. Relatively speaking corn has not been grown in the UK for very long, a little over 200 years in fact; and even then for a good portion of that time corn was not farmed seriously - certainly not compared to wheat or other arable crops.
The combine should run nearly full to minimize impact on the grain. The corn is ready to use when the kernels are hard and resist your fingernail's pressure. Alternatively, if you forgot to grow plants earlier, you can still grow corn by planting seeds directly into the soil in late spring and early summer.
Predicting when to harvest corn to achieve the proper % DM for ensiling is difficult because there is no easily identifiable plant trait that can be used to reliably and accurately estimate the whole-plant % DM. The only reliable method of determining the optimal time to harvest corn silage is to sample the crop and directly measure the % DM of whole plants.
If you face a situation with down corn use these tips to try to save as many precious kernels as you can. Yields for most of the major crops Michigan produces are expected to be down from last year, according to a news story published Friday by Michigan Farm News.
Instead of harvesting them when the How Farms Work tassels turn brown, they will be left on the stalk weeks longer until the husks turn brown and dry as well. We know that kernel milk stage is not reliable for determining the actual harvest date, but it is a useful indicator of when to sample fields to measure plant dry matter.
All you need to do is harvest some of your garden sweet corn early. If the market continues to expand, he would recommend that other growers at least take a look at harvesting biomass if their soils have good fertility and if they are in close proximity to a cellulosic ethanol plant.
Corn silage maturity at harvest has a dramatic impact on the nutritional value of individual hybrids. University of Wisconsin data over many years show a range in whole-plant moisture at one-half milk line of 52 to 72 percent with an average of 63 percent. They may actually be a better choice for farmers growing both small grains and corn.