With harvest underway for most producers in the state, the next big challenge is to properly manage logistics to successfully deliver high quality grain to the point of sale. Depending where a producer is located it may or may not make sense to sell corn or soybeans right out of the field for numerous reasons (basis or future price, deferred income in next tax year, etc.).

Harvest crop moisture can add another layer of complication for the 2020 growing season. So far this fall corn is taking a while to get dried down, and in some situations, soybeans are very dry and are being harvested prior to corn. If you plan on storing your crops at harvest in hopes of higher prices down the road, proper grain storage can lead to profit and avoid loss for the year.

The Soybean Crop:
Soybeans are easy to store as long as they are dry (13% moisture or under) when they are put in a bin. Storing high moisture beans without proper air flow can lead to problems down the road. As with corn, bins with higher moisture beans need to be the first bins moved to market.

Having combines properly set will also pay dividends by keeping pesky pods out of your clean grain tank. Once in a bin, pods tend to flow to the outer wall where they usually rot and stain/rust the inside of the bin. They can also plug sump holes in your bin which as we know is never a good situation. The last place you need to be is inside a full bin trying to get sump holes unplugged.

The Corn Crop: 
Corn is a relatively easy grain to store. If you plan on drying corn in the bin, make sure to dry it down to at least 15-16% moisture. Some have good luck with storing at higher moistures and leaving fans on continuously to dry and keep in condition. This is where a producer can get in trouble.

It’s imperative to keep close tabs on the stored grain by checking bins often. It’s highly recommended to pull a few loads (5-10% of capacity) to get the fines out of the middle. This will promote good airflow through the center of the bin and be able to cool it down much quicker. For bins that do not have good aeration or you couldn’t get the core hauled out, make sure those bins are emptied first. If for any reason a corn bin goes out of condition and the top bridges on you DO NOT enter the bin under ANY circumstances! I’ve heard of too many fatalities the past few years from farmers entering their bin to unplug it only to be sucked down in the grain while the unload auger is running. That’s for another article …

The 2020 growing season has been met with several challenges that require strong insight to potential risk. If you find yourself needing to store grain or dry grain, please reach out to a local expert to learn how to or to simply just double check what you are planning to do. We all know margins are tight and every profitable bushel matters: let’s work together to end the 2020 season as smoothly as possible.

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About the Author: Scott E. Cripe

The author is a grain orginator with Western Grain Marketing in Havana, Illinois.