With combines rolling across the state and big yields being reported, the question arises: where are we going to put it all? Grain elevator operators have known for some time there was going to be a big crop this fall, and many have made preparations. Mike Silver, with Kokomo Grain, told HAT they have constructed a 2.1 million covered pile for storage in addition to their regular vertical and building storage at the Kokomo facility. In addition, he said, “At our Amboy facility, we are set to utilize all of our vertical storage as well as ground piles.” He also anticipates having to put corn on the ground at the Edinburg facility. Waxy corn yields have also been good, and Silver is expecting tight storage space at the company’s specialty grain facility at Winamac. At the Romney elevator, Silver said they have made provisions to store excess grain in big long bags, sometimes referred to as worm bags.
Making the situation even worse this year is the backup on the rail system. A lack of grain cars and locomotives to pull them means grain shippers are not going to be able to ship out grain by rail. Silver said, due to the rain issue, they were unable to ship some old crop soybeans out to make room for new crop supplies, thus making the storage space problem even worse. While the rail backup is worse in the western Corn Belt, Silver says the back up is causing issues in Indiana as well. He said the result will likely be a shortage of trucks, “Since we can’t use the rails, we will have to move grain by truck; and, with farmers having good yields, they will have a lot of grain they will need to move with trucks. I think the real issue could be a shortage of trucks.”
Silver’s advice for growers is to plan now for where you are going to put your grain, “If you are not going to be able to store all your gain on the farm, you may want to contact your local elevator early to line up space for the extra
grain.” The large harvest will also mean some long lines to deliver the grain. Silver said larger operations like Kokomo Grain have the means to unload grain very quickly, but this might not be the case at all elevators. As of Friday, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture had not issued any advisories or temporary grain storage allowances through their division of Grain Warehouse and Licensing.
Long drying time may also be an issue this harvest. Cool damp conditions in early September have limited field drying, and some farmers are reporting harvesting corn at 30% moisture. “We are hoping for a nice Indian summer that will allow us to dry some of the grain in the field,” said Silver.