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Less moisture means more money

Agriculture.com Staff 03/19/2010 @ 12:04pm

Until this week, I had spent exactly a day and a half hauling 2009 corn to the elevator. With the forecast for better weather this week, I was all cranked up to do some serious hauling. I figured that my neighbors would have the same idea. Surely being first in line would be a good idea if I intended to get to the lower portion of the bin where the wettest of last fall's harvest was stored.

I was not really very concerned that any of my corn was going out of condition because I had cooled it to 30 degrees before the snow storm last December. Nonetheless, I wanted to be sure of the moisture as an indicator of when I needed to get the corn out of the bins and to the elevator.

When I had checked with the elevator manager the previous Friday, he assured me that his facility was almost empty. Surely there would be no problem delivering what I needed to before the big rush filled the facility.

To my surprise and delight, when I began Monday morning, I was the only one hauling. I thought maybe farmers were still wary of the soft roads and were waiting for more dry weather.

On Tuesday I continued to haul. There was one other farmer hauling that day. He was using a semi, so I occasionally had a short wait with my single axle truck. However, by mid-day I had the previously sold contract filled. I decided that the process was going well enough to keep going until the bin was empty. I could always change my mind later.

Much to my surprise and delight, the corn got dryer as I got further down in the bin. The last loads delivered were around 14.5%. The wettest corn I delivered this time around was 15.3%. The manager told me I was fortunate because he has been getting some in the 18 to 19 percent range. In lowering the temperature of the corn, maybe those little fans were doing more drying than I thought. I do not feel so bad about a $700 monthly electricity bill in December now that I am not getting any moisture dock on my corn.

I emptied the bin on Wednesday. I finished the job with the weather very nice and all of the equipment working well. I am going to put the corn in the elevator's DP program. Even though I am not a big fan of price later contracts, in this case it is a tool that fits my situation. I have studied the financial statement of the Co-op that owns the elevator. There appears to be no risk of financial problems. Having the corn delivered gives me the opportunity to be able to price it even though I might be busy with field work later in the spring. I see the biggest risk is that the price goes down before I sell. That could happen even if I had the grain still in the bin at home.

I wonder how getting the corn dry could have been such a big problem last fall, but apparently not is an issue now. I have always believed in having plenty of fan horsepower on my bins. It really paid off with the 2009 crop. Even though the system was not really designed to do much drying, at least this time it worked.

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