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Worried About Having Enough Grain Storage This Fall?

Jeff Caldwell 08/18/2014 @ 2:13pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

As hard as it may be to believe already, corn harvest will soon be underway in the southernmost points of Missouri. And, with what many see as a near-ideal growing season up to this point, some are now starting to anticipate a crop that won't fit in existing grain storage. And, with corn prices way below where they were just a short time ago, farmers have a lot of incentive to hold on to that grain in anticipation of higher prices down the road.

"A lot of the farming community would like to hold onto grain in hopes that prices improve over the winter," says University of Missouri Extension natural resources engineer Frank Wideman.

Last week, USDA reported a 160-bushel/acre corn crop for Missouri that, if realized, will be the second-highest yield on record. And, it will be 22% higher in general than last year's crop. That's a lot of corn, and Missouri state grain inspection and warehousing officials are already starting to work with farmers and grain storage facilities to prepare for the potential outcome of more grain than the state's bins can handle, according to a University of Missouri report.

"It's got to go somewhere, says Missouri ag department director Richard Fordyce."

In an Agriculture.com poll, more than half of farmers responding say they've "already planned" for the grain surplus. And, many farmers report existing storage has ample space to spare.

"I don't think there will be any problem with storage here. A lot of storage built the last decade, our local COOP has built storage, and nearly all of the bins are empty now," says Marketing Talk veteran contributor Mike central IA.

Adds Marketing Talk contributor Grain_Trader: "Central Indiana will be able to handle the crop, in my opinion. Seems guys here have been adding tile and storage on farm during these 'golden years'...if guys start when it's still wet, I can see drying capacity slowing them down."

If you're concerned about running low on storage space, what can you do to prepare your grain systems for a potential bin-buster? Start with what you want to do and how long you want to keep ahold of any additional storage you acquire. 

"Grain producers have several choices available to them for storing grain: Invest in on-farm storage structures or condominium storage space built by commercial elevators, or rent storage space from commercial elevators or on-farm storage space from other farmers or landowners," says retired Iowa State University Extension ag economist William Edwards. "Each of these choices has advantages and disadvantages, related to the initial investment, the annual operating costs, income tax considerations, the amount of time required for grain management, long-term availability of storage space and marketing flexibility."


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