As Indiana farmers begin to roll out combines Purdue University is suggesting what to do with that harvested grain. The advice is pretty simple from agricultural economist Corinne Alexander. Skip storage this year and head for the elevator.
“From an economics perspective, in short crop years one of the things we tend to see is that prices peak early, either before or during harvest, and then decline through the remainder of the marketing year,” Alexander said. “The market is giving a strong signal to farmers to deliver early and at harvest because storage will not be profitable. ”
She says the signals hold true for both corn and soybeans. Alexander acknowledges some do need to store grain, and there are some important points they need to consider.
“There are a couple do need to store even in short crop years including livestock producers who are supplying their own feed or producers who have contracts with either food or ethanol processors where the contract specifies a later delivery date. For these producers who are storing a crop they have to be very careful when harvesting early at high temperatures to maintain safe storage practices so the grain does not go out of condition. In a year like this one crop insurance will not cover any post harvest losses,” she added.
Richard Stroshine is a grain quality specialist with Purdue. With an early harvest mold is a concern for those storing grain since it is going in at higher moisture levels and temperatures than a typical harvest time of October and November.
“Mold will grow at 15 percent moisture if the corn is fairly warm, 80 degrees or so, but it’s very slow, but there still can be mold growth there that could eventually compromise your ability to store the corn. So if you’re harvesting at warmer temperatures, even what seems to be a fairly good moisture but just a little above that 15 percent, you’re going to have to get it cooled down, get it dried below 15 percent as quickly as possible. High temperature drying is probably the best way to get it dried quickly.”
For early harvested corn, Stroshine recommends a stored moisture content of 14.5 percent, or 13 percent if the grain will be stored through next summer.
Farmers who need to dry in the bin can increase the drying rate using a technique called layer drying where a farmer will place grain in the bin in layers while continuously drying.
“That first layer will dry faster than normal, and by the time you put your second layer in the bin you will have gotten some field drydown of that grain, which should save some in-bin drying time,” he said.
“Another thing to remember is if you don’t remove the fine material from the bin before you put grain into it you’ll need to core your bin. Fine material tends to concentrate in the center of the bin. To core the bin, open the center well, pull out a load and you should get a lot of those fines out. If your grain is peaked you also should level the top surface, which is very important for good aeration.”
Additional grain storage tips are available on the Purdue Post Harvest Grain Quality website at https://www.grainquality.org. General agricultural drought information can be found on the Purdue Extension drought website at https://www.purdue.edu/drought.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/08/Purdue-on-early-harvested-grain.mp3|titles=Purdue on early harvested grain]