FarmPolicy

June 28, 2017

Extension Updates: Crop Storage Decisions (Low Prices), Corn Stalk Issues at Harvest (Wet Fall)

An update last week from University of Missouri Extension indicated that, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sept. 12 crop production report estimates corn production up by 11 percent over last year. USDA predicts 3 percent more soybean this year.

“Crop producers will have more grain to sell at lower prices in 2016. Storage might become tight after this year’s excellent wheat yields, says University of Missouri Extension agricultural engineer Charlie Ellis. Although not as big as 2014, this year’s bumper crop will take longer to haul, dry and store than in past years, Ellis says.”

The update explained that, “Crop cash receipts—the cash income from crop sales—are expected to fall 3.7 percent in 2016 as prices for cash crops continue to decline….[T]hat motivates farmers to hold grain for feeding or a later sale.”

The University of Missouri item added that, “MU Extension offers guides and customized spreadsheets to help farmers make good decisions about storage, says Joe Zulovich, MU Extension agricultural engineering specialist. Charts, spreadsheets and guides are available at extension.missouri.edu/grainstorage.”

“MU economist Ray Massey recommends MU Extension’s ‘Grain Bin & Storage Cost’ decision tool to look at the cost of commercial storage and drying when corn prices are low. Users input information from their operation to help with decision-making in changing agricultural markets. Download the free spreadsheet at bit.ly/2cRbaoK.”

Meanwhile, an update on Friday from Iowa State University Extension by Clarke McGrath pointed out that, “[T]his year it sure seems like stalk integrity issues are a lot more prevalent across the state than they have been in years.

“Yes, we have to get these beans out while the getting is good, but when we get caught up and can get into the corn, prioritize the areas where the stalks are weak. This is one of those seasons when it might not be a question of if you’ll have stalk rot, but rather where and how much. While we like to take advantage of as much field drying as possible, I’ve been in quite a few fields and had calls on many others, where it would be pretty risky leaving the corn out there very long.”

The ISU update added that, “Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Plant Pathologist Alison Robertson recommends the following procedure to assess your fields before harvest:

“- If you are scouting for stalk rot, look for lower stalk discoloration and check stalk firmness by pinching the lower internodes.

“- Simply pinch the stalk between your thumb and fingers. Healthy stalks are firm and won’t compress easily; if a node can be ‘squished’ or if it otherwise feels soft, that means stalk rot has set in and risk of lodging goes up.

“- Instead of this ‘pinch’ test, some agronomists and farmers prefer using the ‘push’ test, but either way works fine.

“- Check at least 100 plants per field; 20 plants in five spots.”

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