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Save your grain from flooded bins

Agriculture.com Staff 06/11/2008 @ 2:02pm

Dreary weather may be giving farmers the blues, but flood-damaged grains and hay can still be used.

Flooded grain storage bins can cause a lot of damage to the soaked crops, and occasionally the bins burst. Don't let this be discouraging, but act quickly! There's a short window of time before wet grain spoils, so a decision needs to be made within 2 to 3 days after flooding. There are several alternatives available for using the grain.

Producers can attempt to dry the grain, use it immediately to feed their livestock or ensile the grain. The soaked grain can be used as feed for cattle or hogs, according to Dan Loy, Iowa State University extension beef specialist.

"There is no problem other than spoilage within three to five days, with using wet corn as a livestock feed. Just replace the corn in the animals' current diet with the wet corn," says Loy. "Remember to adjust amounts fed for moisture."

Wet, whole soybeans are another feed option for livestock. It can be fed to cattle if the soybeans are limited to 10 to 12% of the ration's dry matter. It can be used for hogs as well, but make sure to treat the soybeans with heat if fed to younger pigs.

"Soybeans substitute well for the protein in soybean meal, but they need to be fed with a vitamin-mineral-additive premix if substituted for a complete protein supplement." Loy said. "Also, if adding whole soybeans to diets high in distillers' grains, watch the total ration fat content."

Wet corn expands, exerting excess pressure on the bin and causing the bin to break. Trying to remove the wet grain from the bins can be a problem for producers. Grain unloading augers may not work because the grain has expanded and does not flow properly.

"One alternative is to lease or rent a pneumatic conveyor to remove the grain from the top of the bin. The pneumatic conveyor works similar to a vacuum cleaner by sucking up the grain," says Charles Schwab, Iowa State University Ag and Bio-systems Engineering. He urges caution for this tactic, because the fast-moving tide of grain may pull an unwary farmer into the flow.

Although drying equipment is preferred, it is not always readily available. Another option for producers is to spread out the damaged grain on a concrete slab, feeding floor or the ground. It will at least partially dry and can be used for feed or sold as quickly as possible.

Dreary weather may be giving farmers the blues, but flood-damaged grains and hay can still be used.

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