Growers across the region are finding themselves in an interesting predicament. For the most part, planting and growing conditions have been optimal thus far in 2020, with the right mix of timely rains and heat units. It is not unfathomable to predict a bountiful harvest come this fall, however, current economic conditions brought on by coronavirus has led to downward pressures across all ag commodity markets.
Being faced with a potential bumper crop, growers may seriously think about holding onto their crops in the hopes that better markets could emerge, but the question remains: where exactly?
According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Grain Stocks Report published June 30, on-farm storage of all wheat stocks in the U.S. is up 12.3 percent compared to the previous season. On-farm storage of corn in also up 2.6 percent compared to this time in 2019.
Thankfully, there is still some time to move 2019’s grain before the 2020 crop is ready for the bins, but still, now may be a good time to be thinking about the possibility of temporary storage.
“When it comes to temporary storage, it’s a quick and easy solution to store bumper crops and it is an affordable option for incremental growth before long-term investments,” pointed out Ben Althoff, grain product manager for Grain Systems, Inc. (GSI).
GSI, a global division of AGCO, is the leading manufacturer of grain storage facilities. In an effort to make things easier for producers, GSI has found ways to simplify the instillation of temporary grain storage containers so assembly can be done in a timely manner. Additionally, Althoff stresses, GSI’s temporary storage option can be configured into nearly any space deemed conducive.
“Basically, the unit can be set up as big or as small as you need it to be,” he added.
GSI’s wall panels, made of galvanized steel, can come in either 3.5- or 6-foot heights and all panels are 10 feet in length. The louvered design of the wall panels helps to maximize air flow and it also works to minimize tarp displacement.
GSI understands that time is of the essence when it comes to agriculture work, so their temporary grain storage system is designed for easy assembly.
“These panels come in stacks of 10 to 12. All you have to do is take a bolt out, fold out the legs and put that bolt back in. Then you stand up the panel and stake it to the ground,” Althoff explained.
When it comes to temporary storage, the base upon which the grain sits is very important because drainage is crucial. The goal is to minimize the grain being in contact with any moisture, so placing it on surfaces like highly compacted dirt, cement or asphalt is ideal. It is also optimal to have a crown in the middle of the base so water and moisture are encouraged to drain away.
Grain going into temporary storage should be dry and cool. The grain should be deposited into the temporary storage unit at a uniformed slope so as to prevent grain surface area at the top, the area it is most likely to come into contact with moisture and other weather elements.
Although temporary storage is a great solution, it is just that, temporary. Grain really shouldn’t be stored like this for longer than about six months and should be moved into a more permanent storage situation by the time outside temperatures begin to warm in the spring. Like with any grain storage, consistent monitoring of the grain is key to prevent spoilage.
As crops continue to progress steadily across the region, temporary grain storage may be a great solution to ensure that quality grain can remain top-notch from harvest to market.