Extension News

ISU Extension Grain Expert Issues Crop Condition Report


AMES, Iowa -- Charles R. Hurburgh, Jr., professor-in-charge, Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, has issued an assessment of the quality of this year’s Iowa corn and soybean grain. In the report he also offers advice on how to store this year’s crop to prevent spoilage. 


“The erratic rainfall patterns across Iowa have affected both yield and quality for corn and soybeans,” said Hurburgh.  “Because more corn is likely to be stored for local use through the entire crop year, attention to harvest and storage management details will be very important.”


“Soybeans are uneven in maturity, even within the same field, with many instances of dry seed on green stalks. Areas that received late August rains will have fewer small seeds but may still be variable in maturity and moisture. Seed beans from long-term drought areas will be small. Otherwise seed size should be average with a lot of variation.”


“Corn quality is also affected by drought, but quality often recovers with August rainfall more than does yield. Protein and other quality traits are determined early in the growing season. Corn protein should be average (8 percent at 15 percent moisture) in most areas. Areas with favorable growing conditions all summer should have lower protein with the high yields, but lower protein means higher starch. 


Hurburgh says that while there were problems with aflatoxin in some parts of Iowa in 2005, the  August weather reduced the threat of aflatoxin considerably this year.


“In  2005, the heat persisted through early October which was very favorable for mold growth. The most severe drought was in far western and west central Iowa;  if aflatoxin is found, this would be the probable area, but the incidence is likely to be scattered and at lower levels,” he said.


“The rapidly growing local ethanol market creates storage challenges. More of the Iowa crop will have to be kept here, within delivery distance of its market,” said Hurburgh. “That means having good condition grain available all 12 months of the year. Direct delivery to ethanol plants, which are inherently quality sensitive, sharply reduces the potential to blend off quality problems. Additionally, an increasing percentage of corn will be used locally at No. 2 grade standards, rather than in the export market at No. 3 grade. The demands for quality maintenance will intensify, and the potential for revenue from blending will decrease rapidly.”


The complete Fall 2006 Harvest Quality and Storage report is available on the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative Web site at www.extension.iastate.edu/grain


There are several ISU Extension publications available to help producers with grain handling and storage.

  • Soybean Seed Storage  (PM 1004)
  • Soybean Drying and Storage (PM 1636)
  • Corn Ear Rots, Storage Molds, Mycotoxins, and Animal Health (PM 1698)

These are available for order from any ISU Extension county office, online at www.extension.iastate.edu/store or by calling the ISU Extension Distribution Center at (515) 294-5247.


For more in depth information about grain storage management, the Midwest Plans Service has several handbooks on aeration, drying and grain management. Please see http://www.mwps.org and click on grains/forage/silage.


The Iowa Grain Quality Initiative (IGQI) project developed from interest by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, the Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Legislature and Iowa State University Extension in increasing the value of Iowa grain. The mission of the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative is to create knowledge and provide information that will improve the efficiency of traditional commodity grain markets and will assist emerging markets for user-specific grains.



Contacts :

Charles Hurburgh, Ag & Biosystems Engineering, (515) 294-8629, tatry@iastate.edu

Jean McGuire, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-7033, jmcguire@iastate.edu