Harvest Will End…Someday!

Necessary drying time slowing down harvest.

Published on: Nov 30, 2009

The farmer called his elevator about 7:30 a.m. "Are you taking corn today," he asked.

 

"Yep," was the answer on the other hand.

 

"For how long?" the farmer countered, knowing the elevator had been shutting down early because it filled up with wet corn during the day.

 

"Until 8," was the answer.

 

"8 p.m., tonight?" the farmer queried.

 

"No, 8 a.m. this morning," the elevator employee said. He wasn't joking either.

 

So the farmer rounded up his helpers and they managed to get three full semis in line before 8 a.m., since the elevator was close by. One employee took the first truck through, then relayed off onto the third truck, already in line, to shepherd it through. When he arrived at the scales, the man operating the probe, the same one he had talked to earlier, had this to say.

 

"Man, I never heard of someone driving two trucks at the same time before," he said.

 

Without batting an eye the farmer countered, "I never heard of an elevator that stopped taking corn at 8.a.m. in the morning during harvest before either," he retorted.

 

Silence. The elevator employee was only doing as he was told. Truth was the elevator was backed up on wet corn, which outstripped its drying capacity. Reports indicate similar scenarios have played out across the Corn Belt, especially after many folk got back into the field recently.

 

As a result, harvest will likely drag into December for some. With a forecast of lower than normal precipitation across the Corn Belt in the next three months coming from climatologists, finishing shouldn't be an issue. It's just a matter of when.

 

And if you're storing on farm, then it becomes a matter of how long do you hold it? If it's got mold in it from the field, Richard Stroshine, a Purdue University grain specialist, thinks the answer should be 'no longer than absolutely necessary.'

 

He's recommending that your first goal should be getting corn to 15% or lower to stop development of molds. These include molds common to stored grain that could develop if the conditions in storage favor disease.

 

Then spend the extra in drying and take it to 14%, Stroshine says. This is a year when dropping it farther than normal will pay dividends. That's because drying the extra percent of moisture out buys e4xtra insurance against disease problems developing within the bin later on.

 

The message seems to be this- get it out of the field, but be patient. Don't rush and do something foolish, either around the equipment in the field or at the grain site, including crawling into bins with the auger running if you have to empty a bin because it's going bad. The end of the season will come- just not maybe on your timetable this year.