Monday, March 24, 2003
Because of wet conditions during harvest last fall, a number of farmers currently have shelled corn or soybeans in their bins that are too wet for safe storage into spring and summer. What moisture levels are safe for storage? Crop storability is a function of both temperature and moisture. The colder the storage temperature, the higher a crop's moisture can be before molds and insects cause quality loss. During winter, if stored crops are cooled to less than 30F, they can be held at fairly high moisture levels with minimal risk of storage. During spring and summer, we lose the ability to keep crops below 30F (unless we choose to spend money on refrigeration) and we need to reduce moisture content to avoid spoilage. Corn should be dried to 14 to 15% moisture for storage into spring, 14% for storage into summer, and 13% for longer-term storage. Soybeans should be 12 to 13% moisture for storage into spring, 12% for storage into summer, and 11% for longer-term storage.