The weather this spring caused some growers to plant corn late, impacting their crops’ harvest timing. Determining a likely harvest schedule can prove daunting for corn growers because of different planting dates for fields, different hybrid maturities and challenging weather patterns.

The Growing Degree Unit (GDU) calculator located on the Pioneer GrowingPoint Web site is a valuable tool that can help Pioneer customers estimate their harvest windows.

The calculator helps growers plan for harvest and also provides information on the expected timing of growth stages, which is important for managing the crop,” says Steve Butzen, Pioneer agronomy information manager.

The online tool works by entering the ZIP code where the field is located, along with planting dates. GDUs are calculated to help predict when the crop will reach maturity. This information is compiled from a 30-year weather history to help estimate a potential harvest window.

Pioneer customers also can create a database of their entire operation on the GrowingPoint Web site through “My Farm & Accounts.” By accessing this part of the site growers can combine record-keeping with expected crop progress. This feature allows growers to regularly monitor the predicted growth stage of their crop.

Corn maturity depends in part on accumulated warmth during the growing season, and each hybrid requires a certain amount of heat to mature. GDUs are a way to measure daily heat accumulation.

To properly time crop management practices, such as spray applications, growers must know the growth stage of their cornfields.

“Most fungicide and herbicide labels specify the growth stage for proper application,” says Butzen. “For this reason, check the product label carefully as well as the growth stage of the crop.”

Pioneer customers can access the GDU calculator by logging on to the GrowingPoint Web site at www.pioneer.com/growingpoint, choosing “Weather” from the main menu, then clicking the “Weather Tools” link.

New users will need to register on the site to obtain a username and password to access the site, or they can call 1-800-233-7333 for assistance.

Additional corn and hybrid information also is available from your local Pioneer sales professional.