Preparing for grain storage and marketing tips

Transcripts are auto-transcribed. If you need more accurate transcripts of an episode for ADA purposes, please contact Anthony Hanson -

I'm Ryan Miller, crop extension Educator earlier this morning.

We recorded in an episode of the Strategic Farming Field Notes program. Strategic Farming Field Notes is a weekly program addressing current crop production topics. A live webinar is hosted at
08:00 A.M. on Wednesdays, throughout the cropping season.

During the live webinar, participants can join in the discussion and get questions answered. An audio recording of the live program is released following the webinar via podcast platforms.

Thanks and remember to tune in weekly for discussion on current cropping and crop management topics.

Anthony Hanson: Well, good morning, everyone, and welcome to the last episode of strategic farming field goats for the summer of 2023.

Anthony Hanson: So to wrap things up. We were thinking about covering something a little bit different as we prep for fall here. Basically, looking at harvest, what can we do with in terms of green storage prep, and also

Anthony Hanson: thinking about markets a little bit.

Anthony Hanson: So again, thank you to or thank you for coming to a strategic farming field notes. This is a program from University of Minnesota Extension, and these sessions are brought to you by with generous support from the Minnesota, Minnesota, Soibi and Research Motion Council, as well as Minnesota Corn Research Promotion Council.

Anthony Hanson: So we have 2 guests today. One is Dr. Ken Halibane. He is from North Dakota State University. He's an extension engineer, and then later we'll be talking to Ed Usett. He is our University of Minnesota. Green marketing specialist. So both of you thank you for coming. We're gonna start off with Ken talking about.

Anthony Hanson: Now, what can we think about in terms of our green storage whether it's spins equipment going on there or sorry with ken. We're gonna mix 6 up a little bit between. Who can, you know chime in sometimes. So again, if Ken we're starting off, Ed can chime in sometimes and vice versa.

Anthony Hanson: So ken we'll start you off. What should growers be prepping for this time of year a lot of times. We you know, might be busy getting ready for harvest, or just, you know, really not thinking about it quite yet, and sometimes, you know our green bins. They might get neglected a little bit, and might think after the fact like, Oh, I should have been, maybe in here cleaning or getting some equipment fixed up before harvest actually starts.

Kenneth Hellevang: Yeah, absolutely. And good morning, everyone. the

Kenneth Hellevang: the traditional saying is, if you can tell what was in the bin last year is not clean enough for this year's crop.

Kenneth Hellevang: and II go one step beyond that. With all of the aeration floors and and duck work that we have today. I encourage people to to think about those areas as well.

Kenneth Hellevang: It's difficult to get under the floor and and do any cleaning, but particularly if we've added insect infestation in the past.

Kenneth Hellevang: Maybe this is a time where we need to do some empty bin fumigating to try to make sure that we don't have any insects from last year sitting there waiting for this year's crop.

Kenneth Hellevang: but it is critical that we make sure that that that bid is ready.

Kenneth Hellevang: That's protecting all of our investment from the year. So

Kenneth Hellevang: you know, it's kind of common sense things. But get in the bin. Look for any

Kenneth Hellevang: collection of of material that needs to be removed. Any holes that might be showing up one of the common areas is where the bin still meets the concrete.

Kenneth Hellevang: making sure that that's sealed up nice and tight the other thing that maybe we would overlook is the fan. We're really expecting, I guess, all of our great bins today to to have some type of aeration system.

Kenneth Hellevang: So we should make sure that that system is up and functioning turn the fans on. Make sure that the the system is clean, and and we'd have it. Add rodents or something. Get in there and and mess things up for for the fall.

Kenneth Hellevang: Another aspect to think about is that some of the bins today have automatic control systems

Kenneth Hellevang: and making sure that we go through and and make sure that those are functioning the way they should be. Many of them need to be calibrated. And so.

Kenneth Hellevang: making sure that we've done all that prep work gets those bins ready, then for this coming year. Normally, in this area. We don't do a whole lot of been treatment, but

Kenneth Hellevang: particularly if we're gonna leave the grain in the Ben into next summer. That is recommended that we come in with some type of approved insecticide bin treatment to make sure that we're repelling those insects.

Anthony Hanson: Yeah, I think that's a key question that I get a lot as an entomologist is, you know, insects come up, and a lot of times. Doesn't it seem like we get the questions? Well to the point where green starting to spoil, and it's largely too late to treat this and that to that point. So the preventive treatments are really what we're looking for there.

Kenneth Hellevang: absolutely. And

Kenneth Hellevang: maybe we'll just touch a little bit on if we still have grain and bends.

Kenneth Hellevang: I think most of the guys try to get it stored for one year. So it's

Kenneth Hellevang: out of the bin before next year's crop comes in. But late in the summer is when we do see a lot of insect infestation.

Kenneth Hellevang: I encourage people, even though we're talking summer temperatures to try to keep it cool. Keep that grain as cool as we can.

Kenneth Hellevang: Optimum temperatures is, everybody is aware, right is right around 80 degrees. And so we wanna do whatever we can. Maybe venting the top of the ben

Kenneth Hellevang: running. If we get a cold night now coming into late August.

get that rain as cool as we can

Kenneth Hellevang: waiting for marketing of the grain, or whatever we're gonna do.

Anthony Hanson: So one last note with that one, too, is if anyone is applying insecticides in their green bins. Just remember Minnesota, we do need additional certification for that. You want to apply fumigates. It's kind of just more of a little bit more of a safety hazard there for the person applying.

Anthony Hanson: and that kind of leads into my next question is, when it comes to safety in our green bins. Are there any things specifically keep in mind? That we can look at, either on the maintenance side or in general, as we get into emptying things out hopefully, but then also getting the new crop in.

Kenneth Hellevang: Yeah, the first thing that comes to mind is is, there's a process that's called, lock out

Kenneth Hellevang: tag out.

Kenneth Hellevang: And anytime we're gonna be working around that equipment. It's it's important to make sure that well, there's no way that that equipment is gonna start. Whether it's

Kenneth Hellevang: augers or any other

Kenneth Hellevang: rain moving equipment is is critical, that that those not be automatically starting, or someone else inadvertently starting it when you're in there.

So yeah, the just. The the conveying equipment needs to be

Kenneth Hellevang: dealt with in in a very safe manner. That's probably part 2 of preparing the the bin for this year's harvest is to make sure that you know all that equipment is

Kenneth Hellevang: lubricated and and ready for this coming year. The other thing that we hear a lot about is is brain and trappings

Kenneth Hellevang: and working around green that that has

Kenneth Hellevang: the potential to kinda act like quicksand

Kenneth Hellevang: really is a danger. And so we're not gonna spend a bunch of time this morning talking about all those safety hazards. But if you're not familiar with grain entrapment, what leads to being pulled into the grain or covered up by the grain? And what are the rescue procedures?

I encourage everybody to to spend a little time and become familiar with that.

Kenneth Hellevang: The unfortunate thing on farms is that many times it's family members that are are working with us on moving grain, and

Kenneth Hellevang: we don't like our safety specialists is one thing, the the for the farmer to get hurt.

Kenneth Hellevang: But if your son or daughter, somebody else gets hurt.

Kenneth Hellevang: That really is devastating.

Anthony Hanson: Yeah, I know we hear stories every now and then. It seems like, you know, once every couple of years at least within a given area. You might hear something like that happening. So that's something we always like to remind folks about there, and I don't be safer on that end of things. We're even just making sure to have yourself secured and tied off. That's always a good reminder to people there.

Anthony Hanson: One thing kind of we had some questions about earlier is. you know, what's kind of new in the

Anthony Hanson: green bin world. Essentially is. You know, it's a lot of changes are something that's really just the same old, same old. But, you know, is there kind of anything new and interesting coming down the pipeline that growers might want to be aware of if they are looking and investing in a new green been set up.

Kenneth Hellevang: Well, I think you know, like you said, there's there's some things that are old and some things that are new

we haven't always adapted all the old things yet. So I'm gonna touch on that first

Kenneth Hellevang: temperature is a real key part of storage management and and the bins that we have today. The only way that we know what that temperature profile is is to have temperature cables in the bed.

And so I strongly encourage people to to have temperature cables.

Kenneth Hellevang: That is part of the grade management. And then the other thing is

Kenneth Hellevang: just making sure that our storage expertise is there.

Kenneth Hellevang: More and more. We we like to buy controllers and systems to take over and and do the job for us. And all of those are nice tools.

Kenneth Hellevang: But we still need to know how to manage that story.

Kenneth Hellevang: and I encourage people to to spend time. I kind of remind people of the definition of management

Kenneth Hellevang: management requires that we have some technical expertise. And then we're applying that. And so

Kenneth Hellevang: each year puts different challenges to us. And so, knowing those fundamentals allows us, then, to apply the the proper management strategy.

aeration fans when to run those fans

Kenneth Hellevang: safe moisture contents, all those kind of things vary depending on how we're planning to to store that green

Kenneth Hellevang: when we started looking at new tools. We're hearing more and more about being able to measure the moisture content

Kenneth Hellevang: of the grain that's in the bin.

Kenneth Hellevang: the way that companies are doing that is that they're actually measuring temperature and relative humidity. And then, calculating what that moisture content would be

Kenneth Hellevang: any air in measuring either one, particularly the the relative humidity is gonna cause the moisture meter reading to be considerably in air.

Kenneth Hellevang: So it's a nice tool, but I wouldn't totally rely on on those to to give us an accurate moisture measurement in the bin

Kenneth Hellevang: another tool that that's being used. Some at this point is is measuring the carbon dioxide level. Both insect activity and mole growth produce carbon dioxide.

Kenneth Hellevang: And so if we can measure the carbon dioxide level and see that increasing, it indicates to us that we have problems. The research has been done to show that that works very well.

Kenneth Hellevang: But when we started looking at it in in a farm storage or in the actual environment.

Kenneth Hellevang: it comes with some challenges. I'll just put it that way.

Kenneth Hellevang: the concept is good knowing where to put the

Kenneth Hellevang: the meters or measurement sensors.

Kenneth Hellevang: how we run the system when we're measuring that carbon dioxide all become important parameters to determine whether we have accuracy or not.

Kenneth Hellevang: So I think that we're going to see more and more of the carbon dioxide measurement as an indicator.

Kenneth Hellevang: another tool that's out there that I don't see very use very much

Kenneth Hellevang: is the the little

Kenneth Hellevang: instrument that measures whether we have insect activity.

Kenneth Hellevang: Basically, we're using a sensor to to measure movement of insects within the band. Again, a wonderful tool

Kenneth Hellevang: typically, if we manage our store grain in a northern region. We don't have a whole lot of problem with insects.

Kenneth Hellevang: so we have not seen that utilize very much. Probably more in the Southern States, and what we we see up here.

Anthony Hanson: Yeah, that's a good kind of reminder there, too, just in general insect mold growth. All related to moisture. A lot of times, it seems like. And I think that's kind of what we'll have to end on, for the the green storage side of things is yeah, just these ideas help keep your moisture down. And obviously the crop going into that

Anthony Hanson: definitely affects things. But no, we'll see what fall has in store for us. Maybe we'll have a pretty dry crop. We don't have to dry down too much, but that remains to be seen to. You never know what the weather patterns might change for us here.

Edward C Usset: So again, thank you. Dr. Halving feel free to hang around in case we get some questions here. Otherwise I think we'll go over to the green marketing side of things with center. So, Ed, good to have you on this morning here, too.

Anthony Hanson: do you? Wanna just quick rundown of you know. What are green prices looking like right now? And kind of what are you expect, or why are you expecting they are where they are now? And

Anthony Hanson: the cranial question of Where do you think they're gonna go in the next, you know, coming months at least, or during harvest season at least. Okay, Anthony, I'll give it my best shot. But first I have to

Edward C Usset: lean on a little bit of what Kenneth was talking about storing last year's grain. He's talking about the challenges of storing last year's green this time of the year.

Edward C Usset: and my only comment is, I sure hope you're not storing last year's green right now. It hasn't worked here just a week ago.

Edward C Usset: Pro farmer. Very popular publication comes out every week. They they put out a recommendation to sell the rest of your 2,020 corn crop. This is in mid August.

Edward C Usset: Now I talk about something the called the eleventh commandment of grain marketing, that is, you shouldn't be holding unpriced

Edward C Usset: corn, and so it means beyond July one. I'll take it a month earlier for spring week. And why is that you've got a couple of powerful forces going on? The tendency

Edward C Usset: of new crap futures to trade lower from spring to fall, and also the tendency for bases to go from spring highs to harvest lows. So here's profile. They do this every year they hold on to grain. Some of it they called their gambling stacks.

Edward C Usset: maybe 10 or 15% well into August.

Edward C Usset: So they, I think it works about once every 5 years. If you and I were walking into a casino, and I said, you got about a 20% chance of coming out of your hole you'd probably go to. You'd probably entertain yourself in a different way.

Edward C Usset: So anyway, they made the recommendation when corn prices were under $5 for essentially the first time the whole crop year much of the crap year. Anyone listening here could have sold $6 corn.

Edward C Usset: and only in the last month or so did we slide into that $5 range. And now, under $5.

Edward C Usset: the new crop corn future said 4 83 this morning. That's a dollar 15 off where it was at the start of the year. We've got new crop bids for corn 4, 40 to 450 a bushel cash price. Those are the lowest we've seen.

Edward C Usset: according to my records, going back to December of 2,020

Edward C Usset: corn is on the defensive. We had a big surprise in the June thirtieth acreage report. We added a lot of corn acres took away soybean acres. The soybean market is holding up much better.

Edward C Usset: but the the bottom line is corn is on the defensive. We've got a good crop coming in here. I want to. Caution. Minnesota producers.

Edward C Usset: Our crop is a mixed bag in Minnesota. You know, we're we're

Edward C Usset: the latest crop conditions. Report has the Minnesota corn crop and soybean crop less than 50%. Good day. Excellent! Doesn't happen very often. I can only find 6 or 7 other years like that. But we're barely under that 50% mark

Edward C Usset: we're going to have an okay crop. But certainly not a record setter. We're gonna come up below Trend. but don't get hung up on your own backyard people. You gotta see the whole picture.

Edward C Usset: and if you look at the whole picture. The Us. Crop is gonna be okay, not gonna be a record setter. but modestly below trend. You take a a good crop

Edward C Usset: combined with poor exports, or, really

Edward C Usset: lacking demand.

Edward C Usset: And you end up with cash prices at their lowest level. And over 2 years, close to 3 years. That's where we are, as we go into harvest. So it means, as I say, have held up better

Edward C Usset: the November new crop so it means currently, at about $13 and 40 cents. That's only down 50 cents from a high level at the start of the year.

Edward C Usset: We've got new crap bids under $13 a bushel. Not fun those are the lowest prices we've seen for almost 2 years. I think I have to go back to December

Edward C Usset: of 2,021 and spring. Wait. Good grief! I'm getting motion sickness, watching. The spring week. Market

Edward C Usset: week is a our poster child for poor demand.

We are for Usda is forecasting

Edward C Usset: wheat exports by the Us. Total wheat exports by the Us. In the current crop year at the lowest level

Edward C Usset: since 1971.

Edward C Usset: That's not a misstatement. 19710, that's a long time. And

Edward C Usset: we talk, you know, there are terrible things going on in in Russia and Ukraine and Ukraine being the bread basket of Europe, a very important player in the world week.

Edward C Usset: We read terrible things going on. Their production is down. Their ability to export is down. I think one of the most terrible things that the Russians have done this summer, as they went and bombed

Edward C Usset: the export facilities that Ukraine has on the Black Sea. which means that even if this end by E, even if this war ended tomorrow by some miracle

Edward C Usset: they don't have the capacity to export might take them 6 months or a year to rebuild those facilities to get back into this way.

Edward C Usset: Having said all this

Edward C Usset: we're waiting for. We on on our side of the Atlantic.

Edward C Usset: in Canada and the Us. We read about the troubles in Ukraine. and we keep waiting for it to show up in our export numbers.

Edward C Usset: It doesn't. We're just. Exports are still lagging

Edward C Usset: ironically. Russia has had a couple of great years in wheat production.

Edward C Usset: and they have filled the gap quite nicely. Fact is, September 23

Edward C Usset: Minneapolis spring week contract

Edward C Usset: traded a life of contract low. I believe in the last 2 days. At around 7 70 a bushel.

Edward C Usset: We got cash prices at

Edward C Usset: $7 and 30 cents for new crap. Right? Give or take, you know, up and down the valley $7 and 30 cents. I gotta go back more than 2 years to June of 2,021 to find those numbers.

Anthony Hanson: Quick question that came in for you this related to wheat, too, and some folks, I think we've talked Prior about Northwest Minnesota, but you only get further south in the State, and there's some people trying to grow wheat. Then they run into the problem of well.

Anthony Hanson: and the elevators are taking it nearby them. Have you heard much about what's going on in that realm of things in the local realm, too, and just know if someone wants to grow wheat, what do they have to keep an eye out for when it comes to actually selling the grain?

Edward C Usset: Well, but what they need to keep an eye out before you can't wait. If this is an issue in your area

Edward C Usset: before you even plant it. call around and find out who will be taking it.

Edward C Usset: What has happened over the last 30 years. We're seeing corn and soybeans the corn, and soy being well felt continues to move west and north and areas in the Dakotas

Edward C Usset: where, when I was a wheat buyer many years ago, it was all wheat country. It's not wheat country now, it's corn country. It's soibi. So more important than we, and a lot of elevators have made the switch to handling those grains. And they.

Edward C Usset: you know, some facilities just can't handle all those grains. So they have to make a choice and

Edward C Usset: check that out beforehand. Don't just don't just put it in the ground without figuring out. Okay, where do I have to go with this grey?

Edward C Usset: You can always bring it down to the cities, but that's a long drive

Anthony Hanson: challenge. If someone has a couple hour drive just for one semi load there. We got just a couple of minutes left. So unless you have any kind of wrap up comments. My last question for you is just, you know, what can we maybe expect in the future here as much as we can. Try to take a stab at guessing on things. But yeah, what trends are you kind of starting to see? That might be

Anthony Hanson: shaping up in the future. Here, 2 things I want to talk about. First of all, short term.

Edward C Usset: Yeah. First of all, my predictions

Edward C Usset: and $5 will get you a cup of coffee anywhere in the Twin cities. But I do my my gut feeling says we're gonna have an early low in these markets that is, somewhere in September. Before harvest starts we will reach our lowest. Does that mean we're going

Edward C Usset: straight back up no, but I I'm I'm thinking early lows, and if we can look out further.

Edward C Usset: look out 2 to 3 to 4 years we've got a boom coming in the soybean crushing industry in this country.

Edward C Usset: I am aware of something like 16 announced expansions of soy, crushing capacity in this country that's going to demand

Edward C Usset: in the years ahead, many more soybean acres, which is, gonna take even more acres out of wheat. Maybe chip away at corn, maybe chip away at the specialty crops the barley, the cotton, the and other commodities.

Edward C Usset: If this comes to pass

Edward C Usset: it could create a very interesting supply and demand dynamic

Edward C Usset: 2 to 3 years out, and that's the positive note. I'll leave things on

Anthony Hanson: alright. Well, yeah, thanks for that. Ed. Ken. Did you have any thoughts

Anthony Hanson: coming up to after conversation here otherwise.

Kenneth Hellevang: No, I think yeah. You know, we can hope for a nice dry

Kenneth Hellevang: fall and harvest goes. Well, I guess one thing we've fought the last couple of years is soybeans that end up too dry.

Kenneth Hellevang: and I'll be putting out some information on how to to adjust that moisture content through some

Kenneth Hellevang: conditioning with with the fans. But we gotta be very careful doing that. So

Kenneth Hellevang: look before you make that choice. You might want to consult some information.

Anthony Hanson: Alright. Well, thanks both you so again for everyone. Today we had Dr. Ken Hellban and then add us that. So we're talking about green storage and also green marketing. So hopefully, this gives everyone just a little bit of a primer and kind of getting ready for prep for harvest season, and what we can expect as we start to transition away from growing the crops, actually no harvest and selling them. So again, thank you for both you for being on.

Anthony Hanson: and thank you for everyone who has attended all of these webinars over the entire summer here. So again, strategic farming field notes, this is our last episode of the summer will be back again next year. But in the meantime we do have our strategic farming. Let's talk crops program that starts up in the winter about early January or so here.

Anthony Hanson: So again, we want to thank our sponsors, Minnesota. So we've been research. Most Council, Minnesota, Corn Research Motion Council and all the farm families Minnesota that contribute to those checkoff dollars

Anthony Hanson: Have a safe harvest, everyone. And again thank you for listening to strategic farming field notes.

Preparing for grain storage and marketing tips
Broadcast by