does corn test weight improve during fall


Does Corn Test Weight Improve During Fall?


When it comes to corn production, farmers are constantly seeking ways to optimize their yields. One aspect that plays a significant role in determining the quality and value of corn is its test weight. Test weight refers to the weight of a specific volume of corn and serves as a key indicator of its density and overall quality. Farmers often wonder if the test weight of corn improves during the fall season, as this could greatly impact their harvest decisions and financial returns. In this article, we will delve into this topic and explore whether corn test weight actually improves during the fall.

Why is Corn Test Weight Important?

Corn test weight is an essential measure for evaluating grain quality, marketing purposes, and determining financial returns for farmers. Simply put, higher test weights indicate denser corn kernels, which typically contain fewer damaged or immature kernels. Test weight is a crucial factor for grain buyers as it can indicate the corn's processing characteristics, potential yield, and overall value. Farmers with high test weight corn have the advantage of commanding better prices in the market, thus enhancing their profits.

The Factors Influencing Corn Test Weight:

Corn test weight can be influenced by numerous factors, some of which are directly linked to the fall season. Let's explore these factors in detail:

1. Weather Conditions:

Weather conditions during the fall play a pivotal role in determining corn test weight. Adequate rainfall during the growing season leads to sufficient soil moisture, promoting better kernel development and higher test weight. Dry spells or drought conditions during the growing season can negatively impact the test weight of corn. Excessive heat and prolonged dry periods can hinder grain fill, resulting in lower test weight. Additionally, late-season frosts can cause shrinkage and further reduce test weight.

2. Maturity at Harvest:

The maturity stage of corn at the time of harvest can significantly impact test weight. Corn harvested too early may have higher moisture content and lower test weight due to immature kernel development. Conversely, delaying harvest beyond the optimal stage can cause kernel drydown, resulting in reduced test weight. Farmers must carefully monitor corn maturity and select the appropriate time for harvest to maximize test weight.

3. Genetic Factors:

The choice of corn hybrid or variety can also affect the test weight outcomes. Some corn hybrids have inherent genetic traits that promote higher test weight. These hybrids often have better kernel density, resulting in improved test weight. Farmers should collaborate with seed suppliers or agricultural experts to select suitable hybrids that have a track record of consistently high test weights.

4. Fertilizer Management:

Proper nutrient management, especially during critical growth stages, can positively impact the test weight of corn. Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient for corn production, as it directly affects grain protein content and kernel weight. The application of nitrogen fertilizers at optimal rates and timing can enhance test weight. It is essential to conduct soil tests and adhere to recommended fertility practices to optimize corn test weight.

5. Storage Conditions:

While not directly related to fall, the storage conditions of harvested corn can influence its test weight. Improper storage facilities that do not maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels can lead to moisture migration and grain spoilage. Damaged or spoiled kernels will have reduced test weight, affecting overall grain quality. Farmers must ensure proper handling, drying, and storage practices to maintain the test weight of corn throughout the post-harvest period.


Determining whether corn test weight improves during fall is vital for farmers seeking the highest quality and value for their corn harvests. While certain factors like adequate rainfall, appropriate maturity at harvest, genetic traits, proper nutrient management, and post-harvest storage conditions can positively influence test weight, it is crucial to remember that every growing season presents unique challenges. Farmers must adapt their practices to maximize test weight and ultimately optimize their yields and profits. By understanding and implementing the factors that impact corn test weight, farmers can make informed decisions that contribute to successful corn production.


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