The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent crop production report estimates corn production up by 11 percent over last year. while forecasting a 3 percent increase in soybeans, meaning 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.
That year, according to USDA reports, Scotland County farmers harvested 8.2 million bushels of corn from more than 46,000 acres, with an average yield of 179.6 bushels per acre. The local yield report was not published in 2015, but statewide Missouri farmers corn yields were estimated at 142 bushels an acre.
The 2014 bumper crop came on the heels of several much leaner years for local corn farmers, who averaged yields of 119.1 bushels in 2013 and just 60.6 bushels in 2012 when just over 2.7 million bushels of corn were harvested in Scotland County, helping to avoid the current storage issues being faced by producers.
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. Since hitting a record high in 2012, corn receipts are forecast to fall 37.7 percent over the four years through 2016.
That motivates farmers to hold grain for feeding or a later sale.
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.
In previous years, some agronomists and economists called for leaving corn in the field as a way to store it. That is unlikely in 2016 due to crop conditions in parts of the state.
Moisture-related problems make storage even more challenging this year, says MU Extension agronomist Bill Wiebold. Excessive rain, coupled with high dew points, makes corn and soybean ripe for disease in much of the state. Scattered cases of diplodia, corn ear rot, stalk rot and seed sprouting call for affected crops to be harvested and dried quickly.
The USDA crop progress and condition report released October 3rd showed more than half the state’s corn crop has been harvested with 75% being rated as good or excellent. In northeast Missouri, corn harvesting was reported at 43% completed, with 55% of the corn ranked as good and 18% as excellent.
The report shows similar numbers for soybean conditions, with 75% good or excellent soybeans across the state where 10% of harvesting had been completed.
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.