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Corn storage considerations for 2010 crop

Jeff Caldwell 09/14/2010 @ 10:45am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Much of last year's corn harvest in the Midwest was late...and wet.

This year's a different story so far. Much of the harvest that's already been done has happened in warmer, drier conditions. That doesn't end your storage worries, though, says Iowa State University Extension grain storage and ag engineering specialist Charles Hurburgh. Here are a few considerations for storing this year's corn, according to Hurburgh:

  • Harvest will start in warm weather. Warm grain from the field or dryer will take an extra cooling cycle. Do not let hot grain sit without air and cooling. Piles, flat storages and other situations with less airflow will be vulnerable.
  • Crop years should never be mixed prior to storage. Especially this year, the old crop will provide a fungal load for the less stable new crop and problems occur.
  • Consign grain to storage structures carefully; there will not be any leeway for more condition problems. Use test weight as a gauge of storability and market accordingly.
  • Combines will break more corn and create more fines at low moistures (below 17%). An extra cleaning on farm,and removal of bin centers immediately after filling will help this problem.  2010 corn will not break as much in subsequent handling as the low test weight 2009 corn did.

"The 2009 crop was the most difficult in memory to handle, all the way through the season. The 2010 crop promises to be better but perhaps will not be of outstanding quality," Hurburgh adds. "This means paying attention to grain in storage, planning ahead and moving questionable grain quickly so as not to add to the carryover problems. We will update as the harvest progresses."

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