Storing grain following harvest can improve returns and provide product at key times.

Friday, December 30, 2016

As the size of farms and harvesting equipment continues to increase, many growers are looking for solutions to handle the volume of crops coming off their fields. Frequently shutting down the combine to bring in an auger to unload isn’t ideal. Large-scale bins that store anywhere from 10,000 to 75,000 bushels can reduce the amount of down time due to things like auger moves, saving growers hours at harvest time according to Dan Brewin, director of equipment with Crop Production Services.

“Long gone are the days where a grower might do two or three thousand bushels of harvesting on a good day,” says Brewin. “Now they’re doing that in an hour with two or more machines.”

Brewin says growers have told him that in some cases investing in a large-scale bin has eliminated the need to buy an extra combine.

“There are also efficiencies to be gained after harvest, before the grain leaves the bin. Storing grain on-farm has the potential for a solid payback,” adds Brewin. This gives growers more marketing flexibility to choose when and at what price they want to sell commodity crops.

Store grain and watch the market

The average Canadian farm is 7% bigger than it was just a decade ago and grain farms continue to lead that statistic. When it comes to cereal crop production, wheat leads the pack but corn, barley and soybean acres are also on the rise.

With the development of earlier maturing corn hybrids, including PV 60075 RIB from Proven® Seed, grain and silage acres have increased significantly in some geographies like Manitoba, which is now the third largest corn producer in the country. Brewin says the producers expanding their grain production have the most potential to benefit from grain storage.

“Bulky products like corn need more storage space, but selling it as soon as it’s off the field generally means the market is likely already flush and prices are at a seasonal low. Large grain storage that can accommodate the volume gives growers the power to choose when it’s appropriate to market their grain.”

Investment not a cost

Commercial grain handling operations in Western Canada aren’t able to handle the entire grain production, which makes on-farm grain storage essential for most operations. Brewin says there are distinct advantages to upgrading to newer, larger bins including more control over what’s happening inside.

“With these larger bins, there are different opportunities for conditioning; whether it’s aeration, or integrating them into grain handling systems and dryers – especially when harvest conditions are wet, damp and tough,” says Brewin.

Grain monitoring systems have become standard, ensuring optimum storage conditions by not only controlling the temperature but also measuring moisture content which could otherwise result in economic losses. With advances in technology, no matter where you are or what your comfort level is, the guesswork of the state of your grain is gone. You can make sound decisions by managing just temperature control or you can access greater value-added insights by utilizing the full suite of tools customized to your needs.

“Without the ability to condition your grain, grain monitoring systems will still alert you to potential problems,” adds Brewin. “The real benefit comes when you add in a conditioning system so you can proactively and automatically correct the issue.”

Deciding on which system to use is dependent on each farm’s circumstances. Your local CPS retail offers a wide range of storage and handling solutions and can help you optimize the value of every bushel.