The Washington Times-Herald

November 8, 2013

Big harvest raises issues with storage

BY Mike Grant Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — A much better summer has led to different kind of problem this fall for farmers in Indiana. Last summer a drought left many fields producing just a fraction of their normal corn and soybean crops. This summer the weather cooperated and now Hoosier farmers are bringing in one of the largest corn crops in the state’s history. Purdue Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says that when the harvest is over he anticipates Indiana’s farmers will have collected a near record 1-billion bushels of corn and a near normal 250-million bushels of soybeans.

The big harvest though is creating a lot of pressure on grain storage around the state. Hurt says last year only one third of the 1.3 billion bushels of storage was used. This year those same storage centers are filling up.

In Daviess County many farmers are reporting near record corn crops, but the storage issue does not appear to be as intense locally as it is in other parts of the state.

“If everything had come in at once it might have been a problem,” said Tom Boyd at Boyd Grain. “There are still a lot of fields out there that have not been harvested. Most people are getting full, but we still have space for about a half million bushels at the mill in Plainville.”

Farm officials in the area say some farmers have had to slow down their harvest because of a shortage of on farm storage of the big crop. “Some of the crops are still in the field because they don’t have the storage space,” said Darla Norris at the Farm Service Agency. “They are leaving it in the field until they can move what they have already harvested to market.”

The Farm Service office of USDA handles requests by farmers for loans for storage facilities. “We are getting some requests for those,” said Norris.

In Daviess County the pressure on grain storage is not as bad as it may be in some other parts of the state. “I’ve noticed as you go further north there is a lot more corn still standing in the fields than you see around here,” said Boyd. “The good thing here is we have end users that can take on a large amount of corn. GPC and Perdue have both increased their corn buying. GPC alone uses 100,000 bushels a day. You can get a lot of corn used up at that rate.”

“Some farmers went ahead and sold at the elevators,” added Norris. “If you look around you notice that the fields are looking pretty bare, but that also means the on-farm storage is pretty full.”

With November here, most farmers are looking to wrap up the harvest, but the lack of storage is not the only issue they are facing. “We are hearing that the rain and cool weather has left a lot of what is left in the fields really too wet to bring in,” said Norris.

“That’s why I like to have my corn in the bin,” said Boyd. “When you store it in the big shed (the field) too many bad things can happen to it and you start to lose it.”