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Crop Storage
Ear rot infections raise questions

Ear molds were prevalent in many fields across the Corn Belt this fall. Wet, cool weather going into fall, delayed harvest, and the fact that later-than-average planting led to later-maturing fields provided an ideal environment for ear rots to flourish where infection occurred earlier in the growing season.

Leave that stock out in the cold

Leave landscaping stock out in the cold? It sounds harsh, fatal even. But that’s not necessarily so for certain plant species. And it’s a way for nursery growers to save time, labor and expense.

Watch your feed corn for mycotoxins

Last fall’s harvest conditions in many key corn-growing areas were conducive to mold growth and mycotoxin contamination. Even if those conditions didn’t exist in your area, purchased corn may come from miles away and could be a problem.

Keep apple prices up after storage

Consumers like apples year-round. But keeping the crunch in premium-quality, fresh market applies and extending the selling season is still a challenge — one that Chris Watkins, Cornell’s postharvest fruit scientist, has been working with growers on since late 2006.

Inspect your stored corn every 2 weeks

The first chore was getting corn in the bin. Widespread pockets of mold, frosted corn and plain wet corn made harvest challenging for many, and a nightmare for some.

Still hot for corn

Paul Anderson is practicing SOS corn storage this winter — store on stalk. “It worked last year,” the Harvey, N.D., farmer says. Field losses were low, test weight increased to acceptable levels, and the corn dried to 15% moisture by spring. “I hope it will work again this year — so far it has,” Anderson says.

Sunflower storage tips

You’ve raised a big crop of sunflowers — one of the best in history for many producers. Now the challenge is to successfully store the seed until you sell it. Ken Hellevang, North Dakota Extension agricultural engineer, offers the following storage tips:

Protect grain from the heat

Check grain every two weeks during the summer, advises Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State University Extension grain specialist.

Keep a close eye on stored corn

If you have corn in bins from the 2009 crop, keep a close eye on its condition. You may need to sell it or dry it right away. Reports of grain spoiling in bins are increasing.

Tool tallies hay storage costs

Hay is the third most valuable crop produced in Iowa, yet some farmers lose as much as a fourth of their crop from improperly storing it. However, hay producers now have a new tool to help them analyze storage method alternatives and the costs involved.

Check stored corn for moldy kernels

Ohio farmers are encouraged to diligently monitor their stored corn grain to prevent mold development.

FSA makes loans on storage bins

USDA’s Farm Service Agency has a loan program specifically for farm storage facilities such as grain bins and grain handling equipment. The low-interest loans aren’t only for grain storage; other commodities can qualify, too.

Will blending corn give farmer a better return?

The 2009 corn crop was really poor quality; 2010 crop was really good. With lots of weather issues it looks like the 2011 crop will have quality issues as well. I still have 10,000 bushels of top-quality 2010 corn. How can I blend that with the new crop to maximize my return?

Air-dry a million bushels? You bet

Jim Purlee eased his way into air-drying grain. He started 15 years ago. By 2002, he’d cut himself off from all gas drying. Today he dries nearly a million bushels of corn with nothing but air. And it costs him just 2½ cents a bushel, on average.

Don’t forget bin basics

Natural air-drying of grain has its advantages. Still, many growers may not have the time or space to make a go of it.

Pull out center grain for improved storage

With harvest winding down, your job of managing grain is just beginning. Job No. 1 should be to core each bin. Coring refers to pulling out one or more loads from the center of the bin.

Quality products aid connection to buyers

The United States has some of the strictest environmental and governmental regulations placed on agriculture in the world, often making U.S. commodities more expensive than competitors’. Still, Oklahoma-based Plains Grains Inc. works hard to market U.S. wheat for producers, ensuring a high-quality product for buyers willing to pay more for a U.S. product.

What to look for when buying grain bins

Odds are that if you haven’t already purchased at least one new grain bin for next fall, you’ve shopped and priced. And if you haven’t shopped and priced, you have at least thought about if you should add to your grain handling system before the 2010 harvest.

Don’t be bin statistic

Stored grain in poor condition can be a recipe for death. More quality problems in storing grain this past season resulted in more problems with loading it out. There were more than 38 grain entrapments recorded in the U.S. in 2009, the highest number since 1993, according to a report from Purdue University’s Agriculture Safety and Health Program. Forty-two percent of those entrapped didn’t make it out alive.

Low-temp drying

Last year, weather conditions before harvest allowed for weeks of in-field drying, with many high-temperature grain dryers sitting empty. For some Iowa farmers, low-temperature or natural-air drying systems may be better-suited to their needs and use less energy than high-temperature dryers fired by propane or natural gas.