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Growing Corn? Grain Bins Are A Necessity.

Corn Harvest is rapidly moving north and almost complete in the Mississippi Delta.  As I travel throughout the countryside it becomes evident farmers and landowners can still make major improvements on the efficiency of not only corn harvest but all crops.

Grain bins improve corn harvesting efficiency, timeliness, marketing options, and reduces harvesting costs.  For example the attached picture is a corn price discount schedule based on moisture from a large grain company.

Corn is physiologically mature when it reaches 30% moisture.  The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UA) recommends beginning harvest at 24% moisture.  A grain company will not even take corn at 24% moisture.  But if they did, using their highest discount of 12.5% with $7.00/bu corn, the discount would equal $0.875/bu!  The UA also states that the longer corn is field dried the higher damage is done to the corn kernel.  They indicated a loss of 20 bu/ac is not out of the question when field drying.  If corn yield was 180 but was reduced to 160/bu because of field drying, the loss would equal $0.875/bu at $7.00/bu.  This equals the grain company’s discount schedule.  Harvesting corn at a higher moisture level also reduces the incidence of aflatoxin according to research at Mississippi State University.  Aflatoxin is a problem throughout the Mississippi Delta region due to the hot and humid climate that allows the fungus Aspergillus flavus to thrive.

If an individual has grain bins, the drying cost of 24% moisture corn might be $0.10/bu.  This is a savings of $.775/bu for corn plus the additional yield not lost by field drying.  Our latest grain bin system quote for a client was approximately $3.00/bu.  These bins would pay for themselves in less than 4 years based on drying savings alone.  Grain marketing options and the ability to run multiple crops through the system also increase the economic return on grain bins.  Grains bins are an excellent investment for the absentee landowner and/or tenant.  The challenge is finding an equitable lease so both tenant and landlord can benefit from the use of grain bins.

Useful Links:
UA Corn Harvest Information:  http://www.aragriculture.org/crops/corn/harvesting.htm
Minimizing Aflatoxin in Corn:  http://msucares.com/pubs/infosheets/is1563.pdf

By Jeffrey Hignight, Farm Manager and Associate Broker at Glaub Farm Management.  Serving Landowners in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

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