The 2009 corn crop was huge but had some serious grain-quality problems, says Charles Hurburgh, Iowa State University ag engineer. Because of all these problems, he says, the storage life has been shorter this year for corn than normal. He says farmers should expect half the storage life of 2009 corn.
Check, Check Check
Hurburgh says there's no substitute for going into your bins and checking the grain.
"Know the moisture, test weight and temperature in every bin you have. If you don't know those things, please take steps to find out,” he says. "Those properties will tell you if the grain is dry and if it will store into the summer.”
He suggests running the fan so you can smell and record the temperature of the stagnant air that has been in the bin. "If you smell odors once you start the fan, there's probably already been some disease growth,” he says.
Correct Any Problems
If you find you have a problem during your bin inspections, Hurburgh says you have a few options.
Immediately, he says, you should turn on fans and run them until the grain is cool. Additionally, you should remove problem grain as quickly as possible.
"Going into denial and hoping your grain will hold on until your contract is due is not going to work,” he says.
Hurburgh says that most buyers will work with farmers who have quality issues because they don't want damaged grain more than you do.
You can also use your corn's test weight as a marketing tool. "Sell the lightest corn first and the heaviest corn for the later contracts,” he says.
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