Picture this scene. Your bins on the farm are full. The elevator in town is closed until it can get more corn dried and more railcars in to unload its bulging bins. You have no choice but to stop harvesting. Do you want this to happen to you again this coming fall? Now is the time to look at your options for grain storage.
Iowa State University Extension economist William Edwards has updated his spreadsheet and guidelines to help you figure which option is the most cost-effective for your farm. Using it now would allow you to make decisions in time to develop a plan for the 2011 harvest.
To read the article, go to the ISU Ag Decision Maker website www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm. In the left hand column, under the "Crops" heading, click on "Markets," and then under the "Storage and Handling" heading, click on the information file titled "Grain Storage Alternatives: An economic comparison" which is file A2-35. You will find an article to read and also a spreadsheet you can use.
Use decision tool to compare costs of various storage options
Use this decision tool to compare the cost for on-farm storage of grain, commercial storage, rental of bins for storage on someone else's farm, or in a storage condominium investment.
Storing grain beyond harvest has been a common practice in the Midwest for many years. Major reasons for doing so include:
• Grain prices tend to be higher later in the marketing year than at harvest. Storing grain can help you capture the "carry" in the market.
• Flexibility in where and when grain is sold can be maintained.
• Harvesting may progress faster if grain does not have to be delivered to an off-farm location directly from the field.
• Grain may be used gradually throughout the year for livestock feed.
A new factor that has surfaced recently is the expanding market of corn for production of ethanol. Many ethanol manufacturing plants prefer to buy grain throughout the year rather than store large quantities on-site. Adequate grain storage capacity allows producers to take advantage of this new market.