How You Store Corn Depends Upon Where You Live

Different recommendations for different parts of the country.

Published on: Dec 6, 2010

A funny thing happened as one of my stories that runs the breadth of the Corn Belt and into the Great Lakes as well made its way to press in our various state magazines. Farm Progress publishes 19 state magazines, with some covering more than one state.

One of our editors who covers the Dakotas noticed that in a sidebar on my story about grain storage, the title suggested not to chill out grain. To make sure the reader got the message, the art director put the grain bin inside a block of ice, yet made it obvious that wasn't the thing to do.

In the central Midwest, most specialists recommend not allowing grain to freeze during the winter. Instead cool it down to just above freezing, says Richard Stroshine, a grain quality specialist at Purdue University, quoted in the story. He says that you risk too many problems with moisture condensation and spoilage if you store the grain into the spring. If you do, once it warms up, problems could be more prevalent.

However, Lon Tonenson, our Dakota editor, knew that in Nroth Dakota, specialists give the exact opposite advice! They advise freezing grain. Both recommendations are right, just for different places.

Don't worry, Tonneson caught it in time to remove the bin in the ice chunk and run the proper recommendation for North Dakota. It was just another reminder that we may grow corn everywhere, but we don't produce it, handle it and store it the same everywhere. What works in one place may not work in another.

If you live in the central Midwest, don't worry. Stroshine stands by the story as it appeared. He strongly does not recommend freezing grain on purpose. But if you live outside of the region, you may want to consult your Extension educator to see what's recommended in your state. Along the way, you're likely to pick up some more timely storage tips that will work in your area to keep corn in good condition if you're planning to keep it on the farm well into next year before you truck it out to the elevator or other destination.