October 20, 2014 | American Farm Bureau Federation

Bumper Crops Causing Grain Backups, Storage Issues

Indiana's grain dryers can't keep up with pace of harvest

Bumper Crops Causing Grain Backups, Storage Issues

Indiana is the most recent state to report challenges with backups at grain handling facilities and potential harvest delays due to this year’s bumper crops of corn and soybeans. Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt said that delays are expected in that state once the grain industry hits its maximum drying or storage capacity.

“Harvest has to slow down to allow dryers to catch up and to move more grain out of storage toward end users,” Hurt said. “This forced slowdown of harvest activity generally occurs during the last half of corn harvest, which will likely be in late-October and the first half of November this year.”

Like in other states, the Agriculture Department is now projecting Indiana’s corn crop will continue to bump up against record production. That state’s corn crop will reach a projected record 1.07 billion bushels, with a projected record yield of 186 bushels per acre. For soybeans, records are expected to be set for total production at 296.5 million bushels and yields at 54 bushels per acre.

“The record volume of corn this year and the high moisture mean that, in some areas, dryers simply cannot dry the corn as quickly as farmers can harvest,” Hurt said.

Nationally, USDA’s weekly Grain Transportation Report stated yesterday that the amount of grain production and grain stocks expected to exceed permanent grain storage capacity this harvest season has increased to an estimated 952 million bushels, about 5 percent of the expected U.S. record fall harvest. The storage shortfall is expected to impact eight states, which include, in decreasing order of storage capacity shortage, South Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. This storage shortfall estimate is up 37 percent from the Sept. 4 estimate of 694 million bushels.

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