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Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017

Mold can spread quickly in grain bins

Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at 10:32 AM

Corn harvest is either winding down or over in most of the local area and some soybean harvest has begun. If you have grain in storage, it is critical to manage it properly. The drought has caused higher levels of mold. Plus warmer weather at harvest means that the temperature inside the bin is higher than normal. When these two factors combine, the spread of mold is higher and can translate into significant losses of stored corn. To best manage this season, the following tips are recommended by Gary Woodruff with Grain Systems Incorporated:

1. Dry quickly, cool quickly. Mold populations can grow 6% per hour at 80 degrees F in the truck or wet bin.

2. Drop storage moisture percentage. Drop storage moisture percentage by 1/2 - 1 percentage point this season.

3. Get corn out of the field fast. Most of the crop is out of the field but what is left needs to be harvested quickly to minimize mold growth and to reduce field losses due to poor stalk quality. Quality declines as well as increased field losses will go a long ways in paying for the extra drying costs.

4. Plan ahead for potential challenges. Watch the grain closely. If problems develop be prepared to take the grain quickly or even directly to the elevator. Marketing the grain quickly could allow it to be delivered to the elevator before quality declines.

A lot of preemergence products didn't work completely because of the dry spring weather and the early planting. Short corn plants and pineapple leaves also let light down into the soil, jumpstarting weeds that normally would have been shaded into dormancy or if they did emerge would have sprouted and died due to lack of light. In some fields this will result in a lot more seeds to deal with both this fall and next spring.

For producers with weed species resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides, that weed crop will be the unwanted harvest that keeps on giving.

This has more producers considering the possibility of fall herbicide applications. Tillage is also a possibility but it won't control volunteer corn or deep rooted weeds such as marestail and dandelion.

Tillage would also take out a lot of continuous no-till acres. The fall application of herbicide is about controlling those winter annuals and marestail, before they become a real problem for 2013.

Two post-harvest applications may be beneficial to manage herbicide resistant weeds. If there are herbicide resistant weeds, such as waterhemp, that have not set mature seed by harvest, an application of glyphosate or gramoxone plus 2,4-D or dicamba soon after harvest should reduce seed set. Then hold off the fall application of a residual until right before the ground freezes.

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As our local University of Missouri Agronomy Extension Specialist, Crook has been writing a column for the print edition Agriculture page for the past three years and we will now be sharing it on our web version. Crook has a bachelor and masters degree in agronomy from University of Missouri and received his doctorate in Agronomy from Kansas State University. He was in soybean variety development research for 22 years for various seed companies and has been Saline County's agronomy specialist for 10 years.
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