Category Archives: Grain Storage
Corn Quality Concerns: The two main questions I’ve received: “Are you hearing others mentioning low/variable test weights on corn?” and “Are you hearing of loads being rejected (to ethanol plants) due to mycotoxins?” While I’m unsure how widespread this is, I have been receiving these questions. A reminder to check your grain quality if you haven’t already been hauling or checking it.
Test Weight is a volumetric measurement (weight of corn grain per unit of volume), and as such, doesn’t directly correlate with yield. Standard corn test weight is 56 lbs/bu (1 bushel is 1.24 cubic feet). The size, shape, slipperiness of surface, and density of the kernel impacts test weight. Hybrids can show differences in test weight. Test weight is different than kernel weight, and thus not directly correlated with yield. Test weight gets at how tightly packed the starch is within the kernel. Reducing kernel moisture can allow for increased test weight if the starch loses water allowing for it to be packed more tightly within that kernel. Dry kernels that slide past each other may pack better allowing for increased test weight.
Lower test weights can result with disease, insect, and environmental stresses that impact photosynthesis and the movement of nutrients to the kernel during grain fill. These can include foliar and stalk diseases, drought stress, lack of nutrients, freeze prior to physiological maturity, late planting, and below normal temps during grain fill. Rewetting of kernels in the ear can impact test weight as kernels can swell and not shrink back to the same shape as previously. We know that moisture events happened after physiological maturity causing some sprouting of kernels in some ears prior to harvest. We did have high foliar disease pressure this year and reduced stalk quality. Compromised integrity of the kernel due to insect, disease, and mechanical damage can also impact test weight. I didn’t see the amount of kernel damage as I did in 2018. But there are certain hybrids that are high yielding and widely planted that I tend to see starburst patterns on kernels (due to Fusarium) and shortened husks exposing ear tips to more insect damage/ear molds. There are also hybrids that had a large amount of top dieback, husk tissue that turned brown early, or refuge in a bag plants that died early in fields. All of these may be factors potentially impacting test weight as well. Thinking about photosynthesis, we had reduced solar radiation during grain fill. I can’t help but think that could also impact it but didn’t easily find research that correlates solar radiation to test weight. There’s research correlating solar radiation to yield and kernel weight, though.
Regarding vomitoxin levels, the starburst patterns on kernels, insect damage leading to
ear molds, wet corn not properly dried or cooled in bins can all impact greater Fusarium growth and the potential for vomitoxin to be produced. If vomitoxin (also called DON) is an issue, concentrations can triple in the ethanol process of producing the distiller’s grains. Hogs and poultry are more sensitive than cattle, so the end user may be a factor in addition to the vomitoxin levels. I don’t know the levels being rejected so I can’t speak more to this.
York County Corn Grower Tour: Corn growers and spouses are welcome to join us February 3 for a tour of ag industries in the Lincoln area. We will meet at the York Co. Extension Office at 7 a.m. and will carpool leaving at 7:15. Our first stop will be RealmFive which focuses on wireless connectivity for ag operations. We will then tour Smart Chicken in Waverly which offers retail- and foodservice-packaged organic chickens and antibiotic-free chickens from Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Lunch at Lazlos is next followed by learning about the UNL hops program and research using corn gluten meal and soybean meal. Possibly another stop on way home. Please RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in attending by Feb. 2nd. Hope to have a good group who can join us! Flyer at jenreesources.com.
This past week was tough at times yet also incredible to see people pull together, rally around each other, and donate so much. All of this is so hard to put into words…praying for those impacted and grateful for the many heart-warming stories amidst all the loss! I realize not everyone reading this is directly affected by the flooding. However, we all most likely know others affected and there’s several resources and information Nebraska Extension wishes to share. Please help us in sharing this information!
Flood Website: http://flood.unl.edu Information for Rural/Urban, Families, Business, Crop and Livestock Producers, Home Damage, and English/Spanish resources all in this one spot. Grateful for all my colleagues working really hard to redo/update this site! Also, all flood-related questions can be directed to: email@example.com
Volunteers: https://flood.unl.edu/how-can-i-help Individuals and organizations should never self-deploy. Support relief organizations that are already established in the area by contacting local organizations to see what support they need. You can also check with your county Emergency Manager. It’s also recommended to get a tetanus shot if you’re cleaning up in flood affected areas.
- Get a tetanus shot before removing flood damaged items.
- Test private wells that may have come in contact with flood water before drinking or cooking. Kits can often be obtained from your local Health Department or Extension office. More info: https://flood.unl.edu/well-water
- First Steps for flood recovery: https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/ACS/ACS-101-W.pdf
- Cleaning up after a flood (includes videos and also questions to ask to ensure contractors are trustworthy). Remove drywall and carpeting as quickly as possible (24-48 hours) to prevent mold growth. Don’t rebuild until studs are 13% moisture: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.html
- Free legal assistance for low-income flood survivors: https://flood.unl.edu/legal-aid
- Financial recovery and documentation: https://flood.unl.edu/family-financial
- Handling food following a flood: https://flood.unl.edu/foodsafety
Livestock: https://flood.unl.edu/livestock Our livestock producers care so greatly for their animals and work so hard to keep them safe and healthy. Prayers for all affected.
- Options for Disposal of Animal Carcasses including rendering and landfill locations, burial and composting considerations. EQIP assistance for disposal costs may be available; apply for waiver through local NRCS office before disposal: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/options-disposal-animal-carcasses
- Contact local Farm Service Agency regarding losses. Phone call starts the process and only have 30 days to report for Livestock Indemnity Program. Can report losses from severe winter prior to flooding in addition to flood and blizzard events: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/extreme-weather-events-and-livestock-indemnity-program
- Article I’ve promised for a few weeks regarding the extreme winter before the flood/blizzard event: https://beef.unl.edu/beefwatch/considerations-attributing-livestock-losses
- Flood damaged grain and hay is considered adulterated and cannot be used as a food or feed source; it must be properly disposed: http://deq.ne.gov/publica.nsf/pages/11-023
- Post bomb-cyclone recovery
- Wet hay has the potential to combust so remove hay from building structures if impacted by flooding. Best practice for flooded hay and silage is to dispose of by spreading on fields as a fertilizer. Most practical way may be just unrolling bales for now. Hay bales that are at 30 to 40 percent moisture content pose the greatest risk of fire. Check hay storage often for pungent odors, hot damp areas on the stack, emission of water vapors and other signs of heating. To check a stack’s temperature for fire risk, drive a sharp pointed pipe into the hay, lower a thermometer inside the pipe and leave it there for about 20 minutes. At 150 degrees F, the hay is approaching the danger zone. At 170 degrees F, hot spots or fire pockets are possible. Have the fire department on standby.
Flooded Grain Bins: Flooded grain is considered adulterated and needs to be disposed. Grain above that can be salvaged by removing it from the top or side of bin with a tool like a grain vacuum. This article shares info. on considerations and grain vac service/suppliers: https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2019/grain-vacuum-services-rentals-suppliers
Flooded Pesticides: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/flood/farm-ranch/flooded-pesticides
I don’t have room to mention all the resources! Please check out: https://flood.unl.edu/
Please keep talking to each other, share your stories, and don’t isolate! Eat a good meal, drink plenty of water, get some rest and be mindful of your personal well-being. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re all being impacted by this. #NebraskaStrong is so true. It also takes strength to ask for help when we need it; help is always available!
- Nebraska Farm Hotline/Rural Response Hotline: 800-464-0258.
- The Nebraska Counseling, Outreach and Mental Health Therapy (COMHT) Program: 800-464-0258.
- Nebraska Family Helpline: 888-866-8660