U.S. farmers are in the process of harvesting one of the largest corn crops in history, but its quality may be in jeopardy if the wet weather continues to slow field work across much of the Corn Belt.
"We are getting a lot of questions about the potential ramifications this wet October could have on the quality of product our customers receive," said Ken Hobie, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO. "We are not sugar coating anything. We are being very open and honest with our customers, but we do not want to create unnecessary anxiety. We are assuring our customers U.S. farmers will make it a priority to minimize any quality concerns this year."
According to Richard Stroshine, a Purdue University professor, there are several steps farmers can take to reduce mold and other quality issues. He says farmers who have moldy corn should remove as much of the fine material or broken pieces as possible, dry the grain down to 14% to 14.5% moisture, and realize it's not going to store as well as it has in previous years.
"Mold can more easily grow on broken kernels because this is the food source for the fungi and it is more readily available," Stroshine said. "Broken kernels also impede airflow during aeration of stored corn. So, getting rid of the fine material is a good strategy for improving grain storage."
Stroshine recommends using the combine's full capabilities to help get rid of the fine material and incorporating high capacity screen cleaners into the grain-handling system.