COL Consider renting grain storage space

The possibility of low grain prices at harvest has many farmers considering the possibility of renting storage space this fall, said Wayne Schoper, regional Extension educator in Brown County.

The renter must first decide if he can use the building and how much he is willing to pay. The renter must carefully consider the returns that can be reasonably expected from using the facility. If corn is $1.70 per bushel at harvest and the Farm Service loan rate is $1.84, the farmer can net 14 cents per bushel by renting the storage facility and placing the corn under loan.

However, the 14 cents must pay for storage and additional costs of handling the grain, Schoper said.

Book presents stray voltage information

A new book printed by the Natural Resource, Agriculture and Engineering Service updates stray voltage research.


The USDA definition of stray voltage is "a difference in voltage between two surfaces that may be contacted simultaneously by an animal.'' When this occurs on a dairy farm, the cows acts to complete the circuit and experiences a small shock or tingle. Research shows that stray voltage may increase cow stress and health problems and reduce milk production.

"Stray Voltage and Dairy Farms'' is 408 pages and is available for $45 plus shipping and handling from NRAES, Cooperative Extension, Box 4557, Ithaca, N.Y. 14852-4557. Shipping and handling is $6 within the continental United States.

Corn silage moisture needs to be tested

Determining when to harvest corn silage may be more difficult this fall due to extreme variation of plant moisture in many fields, said Lee Milligan, Extension agent in St. Croix County, Wis.

The ideal harvest moisture content for proper fermentation remains the same for drought-stressed corn as it is for normal corn. The ideal moisture content depends on the storage structure -- 65 percent to 70 percent in horizontal silos, 60 percent to 65 percent in upright stave silos and 55 percent to 65 percent in oxygen-limiting silos.

Testing chopped corn silage for moisture is the most accurate method to determine when to start chopping. This involves chopping corn from the interior of the field. The outer-most plants are usually drier than the interior plants, Milligan said.

Stressed corn more dangerous in silo

Silo gas danger is greater in stressed corn, said John Shutske, Extension service farm safety and health specialist. Hazardous levels can be present even within the first 24 hours and the hazard can remain for two to three weeks.


Generally, silo gas levels are higher in plants that have been drought stressed or otherwise damaged by wind, insects or disease. High-weed content in chopped silage material also adds to the silo gas problem, because weeds are less able to convert the nitrogen they take up into protein.

Silo gas is produced during fermentation in silage bags, bunkers and piles as well as in silos, Shutske said. The risk is lower in piles, bunkers and bags because they are more easily ventilated with outside air.

What To Read Next
Get Local