Still coming in wet

THE DRYERS at the elevator in Tracy have been going strong for quite some time, as farmers have been bringing in truck loads of wet corn. Photo / Per Peterson

Moisture content in corn still high

By Per Peterson

This year’s growing season in the area has been very much less than ideal.

Late planting and heavy, poorly-timed rains have given farmers headaches. The harvest results have been mixed, but with most corn still standing, farmers are facing some challenges.

U of M Extension Crops Educator Liz Stahl said most of what she has heard is the corn moisture content holding in the lower to mid-20s.

“For long-term storage, you want to get into the 15% range, and for long-term you want to be 13-14%,” Stahl said. “When you have wetter corn, you can have mold issues, and if it’s too wet you can have insect issues. It’s really important to make sure you get the moisture content down and get the corn well aerated.”

Stahl said there likely won’t be much drying going on in the fields the rest of the fall and into the winter. Even if the moisture content in corn decreases a point or so per week, it will still be at about 20% by Dec. 1.

“Then you’re playing a game of, is it going to stand?” she said. “And there are stalk quality issues. If the ears drop to the ground, that’s lost yields. I know some people might leave it, but it’s not a recommended practice to leave corn in the field. It’s much better to have grain in the bin than have it sitting in the field over the winter.”

Cory Staufacker, who farms just north of Garvin, said this is one of the wettest years he can remember.

“The corn is really wet,” he said Monday, under the din of a dryer running near his home. “Most of it’s coming out of the field 24-26% Most of the time we take out anywhere between 18-20% so this is definitely on the higher end.”

What that means for Staufacker and all other farmers in the area is higher drying costs. It also means a different harvest schedule — one that’s not a favorite of farmers.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.