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Good news, bad news

Agriculture.com Staff 01/22/2010 @ 2:44pm

Since the first snow in early December, I have said that this year was not nearly as bad as the winter of 1983-1984. I am starting to have second thoughts about that attitude. I am not so sure that this winter hasn't been the worst in history, at least to this point. I have no livestock this year. That takes some of the pain out of the situation. However, the record breaking yield of wet corn makes for some extra stress that we did not have in those earlier years.

Every farmer I know has corn piled to the peak in grain bins. In my small operation there is only one bin in that situation. Those of us who finished harvest held off removing the peak last fall so that the elevators could take corn directly from the field to finish up the neighbors who were not done. Unfortunately some of these guys never did get done, so the farm stored corn is mostly still in bins.

I have been anxious to get the top bushels removed from the one bin I have in that situation because of the potential problem with moisture migration in corn that is not dry. With ice and snow covering almost everything around my farmstead, preparing to move corn was not a simple task. I tried to keep the snow bladed off the driveways so that I could get around with a truck. I worked a couple of hours every day removing ice from fans and unloading motors. I did this even when the temperature was below zero.

Slightly warmer temperatures at the end of last week melted the snow enough that I could get the unloading augers freed up. Sunday afternoon the last ice finally gave way that had been keeping the flighting from turning. I was set to go. My neighbor agreed to haul with his single axle truck since it was much easier to get around with the conditions still slick. Besides, my single axle truck was due for some repairs and not usable at the time.

We got started hauling about 9:00 A.M on Monday. Things went very well considering the conditions. Much to my surprise the corn came out of the bin with moisture between 14.8 and 15.4. The test weight was in the 56 to 57 range. That is the good news. The bad news is that I discovered that two of the bins have roof damage from all of the snow and ice. I am concerned that more snow could compound the problem. I hired an individual with a bucket truck to remove the snow from these bins. I hope that with the extra weight removed, the damage will not get any worse. I am now faced with wondering how to fix the damage. No doubt there is a contractor somewhere that has experience with this sort of thing. I was a dealer and builder for this brand of bins for 15 years. I have never before seen anything like this.

My plan was to sell the corn as I hauled it, since I figured getting the corn delivered in good condition was more important than the price. With prices down following the report last week, the timing proved to be bad. However, I accomplished what I set out to do. I was happy that I apparently do not have to worry about spoilage for the time being. At the same time I sold an increment to be delivered in February. By yesterday the temperatures were high enough that hauling on country roads is impossible.

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