Larry’s Letters: August 2015

This growing season has been one for the record books, many say the wettest summer on record. There are many acres that are a total loss, many acres that couldn’t be any better and many acres in between. If the weather pattern continues as it has been for the past few months, we could have a very challenging harvest season.
If the weather pattern does stay the same, history tells us that the corn roots are shallow following a wet summer and the corn does not stand well. None of us need that kind of fall. Every acre that is harvested early is an acre that cannot potentially go down.
It is proven, that corn harvested at 28% moisture verses 18% moisture nets more money per acre, even with the cost of fuel for drying. With that said, harvesting early will mean higher test weights, more money in the bank, no potential of harvested acres falling down and time to do field work if the weather is nice. Sometimes there are early harvest premiums that can be captured. We cannot afford not to make the best of every acre out there.
I recommend that you spend time inspecting and maintaining your harvest equipment, from the combine to the storage bin and everything in between — especially the drying equipment. In many cases the drying equipment is the limiting factor in harvest capacity. Everything needs to run at peak performance. It is late in the season to think about updating and making major changes to drying systems, so do the best with what you have to work with.
After your grain is in the bin, if these hot wet conditions stay with us, pay very close attention to what’s going on in the bin. Hot, wet air used for aeration encourages insect, mold and fungus activity, which leads to grain spoilage. By drying your corn to 14-1/2% moisture or below the potential for mold and insect activity is greatly reduced. Get your corn cooled down to 60 degrees as soon as possible and then as fall progresses and the weather is cooler, cool the grain to 50 degrees for longer term storage. Between 50 & 55 degrees potentially all of the mold and insect activity has stopped.

Have a safe and productive harvest,
Larry

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