Corn School: Drying and storing low test weight corn

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Many farmers in 2019 will be harvesting late-planted corn that struggled to mature as combines roll through fields this fall.

Much of that corn will likely be heading directly to the elevator, but there will be marketing opportunities for growers who are willing to dry and store that grain. On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, James Dyck, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs ag engineer, offers tips on how growers can optimize drying of immature, low test weight corn and minimize risk of spoilage in the grain they plan to store.

The first practice Dyck recommends for growers is to dry corn s-l-o-w-l-y. He notes that test weight is indeed a grading factor and proper drying can actually increase test weight. He cites U.S research that shows growers can boost test weight by two to three pounds per bushel when corn is dried at 70 and 80 degrees F compared to 180 to 220 degrees F. “That’s enough to move corn one or two grade levels,” he adds.

(Watch OMAFRA’s James Dyck and RealAg’s Bern Tobin discuss drying, cleaning, handling and storage considerations for low test weight corn. Story continues after the video.)

To optimize grain drying temperature for maximum test weight improvement, Dyck recommends the following steps:

  1. Measure corn moisture and test weight going into the dryer.
  2. Start the dryer, set to a reasonable temperature (depends on type of dryer) and wait for dryer to stabilize (may take a couple of hours).
  3. Measure test weight of corn dried at the starting temperature.
  4. If the test weight has increased, lower the drying temperature by about 10 F and wait for dryer to stabilize (may take a couple of hours).
  5. Measure test weight of corn dried at the lower temperature.
  6. If the test weight has increased again, repeat steps 4 and 5.
  7. When test weight no longer increases, raise the drying temperature by about 10 F  and continue operating at that temperature.

Click here for more recommendations from Dyck on corn drying, cleaning, handling and storage considerations.

Click here to view more Corn School episodes.

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