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Preventing Post-Harvest Losses—2017 Kentucky Grain Storage Update

Kentucky grain farmers produced a record level of soybeans, and near-record level of corn in 2015 and 2016, primarily due to timely, ample rains (Tables 1 and 2, respectively). In most years, grain is stored on-farm between 1 to 9 months, and Kentucky farmers maintain a sound reputation of producing high quality products for feed, food, and fuel use throughout the southeastern U.S. and around the world.

Average commodity prices for 2015 and 2016 place the total value of grain crops at just over $1.8 billion for both years. Post-harvest losses of 1% or more are not uncommon during storage and can result in subsequent discounts by the elevator or grain buyer, which represents a minimum of about $18 million in lost income statewide. Hence, prudent management of stored grain is essential to protect product value and quality during handling, drying and storage.

The Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department's extension education program is dedicated to providing timely, research-based information that emphasizes proven storage management tools, safe handling practices, and energy efficient drying methods that help producers and elevator managers maintain high quality grain after harvest.