Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Test Run: Combining Corn

With all the repairs on the header and combine finally finished and the corn drying down, we decided to do a test run. Aside from verifying that all the new parts and repairs were meshing properly, it was a chance to set the combine up to give a clean grain sample as well as making sure it was completely chopping up the stalks and leaves. 


Once I had some shelled corn I took it to the local elevator where they tested it for moisture - its at 25.4%.  While the buyer, a feed mill, will use propane to dry it down to about 15% so they can use it and without spoiling, I end up paying for that drying at least two ways: the mill charges me a fee, per point of moisture removed, to get it down to 15%,  and also as extra trucking to ship all that excess water down to Cashton Farm Specialties (the buyer).  A good explanation of those costs and risks is here.

I'd like to have the moisture be under 20% before we start combining. That will probably take about a week of decent weather so the wind and sun can dry it down; the forecast calls for a few days of rain in the next 10 days so we'll have to wait and see. Hopefully the rain/snow will hold off for a while. 

This organic corn is going to be used as animal feed. In the future we might grow for the "food grade" market, like we did with the wheat, however selling into the food market is a bit more complicated. It would require me to be able to dry the grain myself, and then store it in a dedicated grain bin after drying. The costs of building that infrastructure are fairly high, especially considering that I can sell "wet" feed corn with a minimal cost/loss of revenue.

(Click on any picture to make it bigger.)

What I've grown can be eaten by people, it just takes some work.

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