Grain dryer

Long, warm days of summer will soon give way to fall and harvest.

The wet spring caused many fields to be planted late, which will lead to late maturing and wet corn this fall. It has been more than a decade since we had to do major drying of our corn crop, which will put a big strain on our systems, especially if they have not been updated. Late planting and late maturing will also reduce the days for drying the corn, so we need to plan for a late wet crop.

While the crop is far from made, here are four tips to get prepared:

1. Scout fields and mark silking date, then add 60 days for black layer date. This is when the corn is mature and is about 30 percent moisture.

2. Clean out bins and turn on all fans, spreaders, stirrers, and transfer augers to make sure everything is working properly. Lubricate bearings and make needed repairs before harvest starts. Wet corn is always hard to start moving.

3. Measure the space under all drying and floors to be sure there is at least 7½ inches of clear space for the air to spread out. If the fines have filled the plenum under the drying floors, then it is time to get them vacuumed out. This is not a fun job but a necessary one, so don’t delay.

4. Get educated on the performance of your individual bin system. Bill Wilkey, a native to Ida County, developed some very good computer programs that provide fan performance to determine the speed of drying, electricity used, and overall performance.

ISU Extension and Outreach in Ida and Sac Counties are offering the Advanced Grain Management course Aug. 20. The cost is $25, which includes all materials. The program is in Ida County from 9-11 a.m. and in Sac County from 1-3 p.m. Call Ida County at 712-364-3003 and Sac County at 712-662-7131 to sign up.

Kris Kohl is an ag engineering specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Reach him at 712-732-5056 or