Friday, October 2, 2009

Commodities: "Harvest sure to overwhelm already full elevators"

From the Hays (KS) Daily News:

- At the southwest edge of town, two massive bunkers stand ready to corral area farmers' fall bounty of corn and milo.

Frontier Ag grain merchandiser Larry Glenn, however, thinks it's more likely that both bunkers simply will be holding only corn.

"My gut feeling is we might have corn in one and corn in the other one," Glenn said Thursday, the day after visiting smaller elevators in the area and taking a peek at the countryside.

Simply put, he said there's a lot of corn in the Quinter area, and much of it should have good yields. It's the same for grain sorghum -- there's plenty out there, and it's likely yields will be high.

Glenn's outlook follows last month's forecast, which predicted record corn, soybean and grain sorghum crops this fall.

All of that is on top of a respectable wheat harvest of 369.6 million bushels, much of which still is sitting in area elevators -- including Frontier Ag's Quinter operations.

Corn production is expected to hit a high of 518.4 million bushels, with average yields of 144 bushels per acre. Grain sorghum production should hit 221 million bushels, with average yields of 82 bushels per acre.

While soybean production is expected to be a record, that's not a major crop in the Quinter area. There are, however, several soybean fields in the area, and farmers will need a place to store that bounty.

But there's not much room at the inn, so to speak, considering many farmers still are holding on to some of last year's corn crop and this year's wheat crop -- a reflection of the sharply lower prices that crops are fetching these days.

Wheat is down $3.87 from a year ago, corn is down $1.87, and milo is down $3.18.

If harvest estimates are met, Kansas farmers will lose nearly $3 billion from last year's crop, even though grain production is higher....MORE

I'm not sure if someone is pulling my leg, the byline is 'Mike Corn', anyway, a tip o'the Climateer cap to Maril Hazlett of the Climate+Energy Project.

Here are some handy hints for temporay storage from Corn and Soybean Digest:

...The success of storing grain on the ground depends on a combination of variables that can be controlled – such as site preparation, storage design, use of aeration and storage management – and factors that can't, such as the weather, he says.

Here is his advice for preventing crop loss:

* Select a site that's elevated, has good drainage, is large enough to accommodate the volume of crop being stored and has roughly 130 ft. of turnaround space for trucks dropping off the grain.

* Prepare a pad for the grain to rest on by mixing lime, fly ash or cement in the soil to prevent soil moisture from wetting the grain. Make a concrete or asphalt pad if the site will be used for several years.

* Create a crown in the middle of the pad with a gradual slope away from the center for water drainage. Also make sure the area around the pad drains well.

* Run piles north and south to allow the sun to dry the sloping sides.

* Build a retaining wall to increase storage capacity.

* Place only cool (less than 60° F), dry, clean grain on the ground. Maximize pile size to reduce the ratio of grain on the surface that is exposed to potential weather damage to the total grain volume....MORE