Indiana’s projected record corn and soybean crops will likely result in backups at the state’s grain handling facilities and delay some farmers from harvesting, Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt says.
“When the grain industry hits its maximum drying or storage capacity, harvest has to slow down to allow dryers to catch up and to move more grain out of storage toward end users,” Hurt said. “This forced slowdown of harvest activity generally occurs during the last half of corn harvest, which will likely be in late-October and the first half of November this year.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now projecting Indiana’s corn crop will continue to bump up record production. It said in its October crop production report that the crop will reach 1.07 billion bushels, only the second time for the crop to exceed 1 billion bushels. The projected yield of 186 bushels per acre also would be a record. The USDA has increased its projections each month since it first reported in August that Indiana would produce a record crop.
For soybeans, records are expected to be set for total production at 296.5 million bushels and yields at 54 bushels per acre.
The Indiana corn crop overall matured slightly slower than the five-year average part of the growing season because of cool weather, but it has since caught up and passed the five-year average. But some corn still has relatively high moisture content. The USDA said in its Oct. 14 Crop Progress report that the average Indiana corn moisture was still at 22 percent. Corn needs to be dried to about 15 percent moisture content to be safely stored.
“The record volume of corn this year and the high moisture mean that, in some areas, dryers simply cannot dry the corn as quickly as farmers can harvest,” Hurt said.
Demand for storage will exceed capacity by about 100 million bushels across the state, the most excess demand for storage since the fall of 2007, Hurt said.
“Even though Indiana farmers and grain merchants have built about 75 million bushels of new storage capacity since 2010, it will not be enough this fall,” he said.
Although the strain on drying and storage as well as wet conditions in the fields mean there will be a slower harvest this, year, Hurt said “The good news is that it is an abundant crop, and with patience it will all get harvested.”
It also will be good economically for both grain-drying and storage operations as well as transportation services that move Indiana’s grain and grain products.
“It will be a banner year for the grain industry,” Hurt said.
Source: Purdue News