why early harverst increase test weight


Introduction: The Benefits of Early Harvest for Increased Test Weight

As farmers and agricultural experts strive to maximize crop yields and quality, the timing of harvest plays a crucial role. One particular phenomenon that has captured the attention of researchers and farmers alike is the impact of early harvest on test weight. Test weight refers to the weight of a specific volume of grain, often measured in pounds per bushel, and is an important indicator of crop quality and market value. In recent years, there has been growing evidence suggesting that early harvest can significantly increase test weight, leading to several benefits for farmers. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this intriguing phenomenon and delve into the various factors that contribute to the increase in test weight when harvesting crops early.

The Relationship between Early Harvest and Test Weight

Early harvest refers to the practice of harvesting crops before they reach full maturity. Traditionally, farmers have been encouraged to wait until crops reach optimal maturity to maximize yield. However, recent research has shed light on the potential advantages of an early harvest, particularly in terms of test weight. When crops are harvested earlier than usual, they tend to exhibit higher test weights due to several interrelated factors. Let's explore these factors in detail:

The Role of Grain Moisture Content

One critical factor contributing to increased test weight during early harvest is the moisture content of the grain. As crops mature, their moisture content gradually decreases. However, if left in the field until full maturity, the grain's moisture content can lower excessively, adversely affecting test weight. By harvesting early, farmers can ensure that the moisture content of the grain remains at an optimal level. This optimal moisture content allows for better compaction of the grain, resulting in higher test weights. Additionally, reducing the moisture content through early harvest helps prevent post-harvest losses due to mold and spoilage.

Impact of Weather Conditions

Weather conditions play a pivotal role in crop development and test weight. Adverse weather events, such as heavy rainfall or prolonged periods of high humidity, can negatively impact test weight by increasing grain moisture content and promoting disease and pest infestations. By harvesting early, farmers can mitigate the risk of detrimental weather conditions affecting their crops. This decreased exposure to unfavorable weather conditions ensures that the grain maintains its quality, leading to higher test weights.

Physiological Changes in the Grain

During the maturation process, grains undergo several physiological changes that influence their test weight. As crops approach full maturity, they begin to divert more energy towards reproductive functions such as seed production. This shift in energy allocation can lead to a decrease in the accumulation of non-structural carbohydrates, ultimately affecting test weight. However, by harvesting early, farmers harvest crops when they are still in the active grain filling stage. This stage coincides with the accumulation of non-structural carbohydrates, resulting in higher test weights.

Reduced Shattering and Pod Loss

For crops such as oilseeds and legumes, shattering and pod loss can significantly impact test weight. Shattering refers to the natural tendency of plants to disperse their seeds by releasing them from the pod or capsule. If crops are left in the field until full maturity, the risk of shattering and pod loss increases, leading to lower test weights. However, early harvest allows farmers to prevent or minimize shattering and pod loss, thereby preserving the grain's weight and increasing test weight.

Enhanced Harvest Efficiency

While an increase in test weight is undoubtedly advantageous, early harvest also offers several practical benefits for farmers. One such benefit is enhanced harvest efficiency. By harvesting earlier, farmers can spread out their workload and reduce the strain on manpower and machinery. As the harvest progresses, the probability of inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances hindering the completion of fieldwork increases. Early harvest allows farmers to minimize these risks and maximize their efficiency during the harvest season.


In conclusion, early harvest has emerged as a compelling practice that offers numerous benefits to farmers, particularly in terms of increased test weight. Through this article, we have explored the underlying factors that contribute to the higher test weights observed during early harvest. These factors include optimal moisture content, favorable weather conditions, physiological changes in the grain, reduced shattering and pod loss, and enhanced harvest efficiency. By understanding the relationship between early harvest and test weight, farmers can make informed decisions to optimize their crop yield and profitability. As the agricultural industry continues to evolve, it is crucial to embrace innovative practices that maximize crop quality and ensure a sustainable future for farmers worldwide.


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