Corn Harvest 65 Percent Done In Northeast Louisiana Some In Temporary Storage

Linda Benedict, Collins, R. Keith, Sistrunk, Myrl W., Lanclos, David Y.  |  8/22/2007 7:32:47 PM

The grain is stored in bags. This photo, by Carol Pinnell-Alison, LSU AgCenter county agent in Franklin parish, was taken at the Winnsboro grain elevator. (Click on photo to download larger image.)

News Release Distributed 08/22/07

The corn harvest in Northeast Louisiana is 65 percent complete, and lines are getting longer at the elevators with some producers using temporary storage facilities in Winnsboro, Crowville and Monticello.

Combines are able to cut corn quicker than trucks can empty their loads at the elevators, said Myrl Sistrunk, West Carroll Parish county agent for the LSU AgCenter.

"There are bigger bottlenecks in the afternoon,” Sistrunk said. “Movement on the rails and river is slow.”

Harvest should be completed within 10 days.

Louisiana farmers planted corn on 750,000 acres, more than double the amount planted in 2006. The increase in corn prices, as high as $4 a bushel, is chiefly due to the commodity's use in ethanol production, prompting farmers to reduce the amount of cotton planted.

“Storage is filling up,” Sistrunk said. One elevator operator is only moving out contracted corn and another has a quota on trucks, which will slow the process, Sistrunk said.

“This is the largest corn crop, acreage-wise, that we have ever planted in the state of Louisiana since we began keeping records,” said David Lanclos, LSU AgCenter corn specialist. “We are potentially going to set a new yield record for the crop as well. Our highest yield was obtained in 2001 with a state yield reported at 148 bushels per acre.”

“As the harvest continues, the numbers that are being reported from the state are phenomenal,” Lanclos said.

One reason for the good yields is the good root system that was established early in the season because of water stress, Lanclos said.

“This deep root system enables the crop to sustain adverse growing conditions throughout the season,” he said.

Cool weather during pollination also helped, allowing ears to fill out more appropriately. Then there were the timely rains and extremely light insect problems, Lanclos said.

“This abundant corn crop is why we are having the problems that we are having logistically,” Lanclos said.

Alternative storage that Sistrunk has seen includes grain bags, buildings and corn in a field covered with tarps. Tarps can be used in the short term to store corn, but not for more than two to three weeks, he said.

Richland Parish has a wide variety of on-farm storage, ranging from permanent structures with drying capability to other structures without drying, including Quonset-type huts, concrete wall structures and use of existing storage sheds, said Keith Collins, LSU AgCenter agent in Richland Parish.

Sanitation of piles and grain bags requires more monitoring because of the elements, possible pests and less physical security, Sistrunk said. Conventional bins are rainproof, vented and pest-resistant.

Proper drying of corn is important to minimize broken kernels and stress cracks that lead to eventual breaking, Sistrunk said. Lack of air movement also can cause mold. Grain in temporary structures can be aerated with fans, supply tubes and perforated ducts, Sistrunk said, but monitoring is essential.

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Contacts: Myrl Sistrunk at (318) 428-3571, or msistrunk@agcenter.lsu.edu,  
KeithCollins at (318) 728-3216, or kcollins@agcenter.lsu.edu, David Lanclos at (318) 473-6530, or dlanclos@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer: Mary Ann Van Osdell at (318) 741-7430, ext. 1104, or mvanosdell@agcenter.lsu.edu

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