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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Floods in Upper Midwest Have Damaged Stored Grains and Soybeans


Extensive flooding in the upper Midwest including parts of the Corn Belt has resulted in extensive losses from water intrusion into storage bins. The March 29th USDA Grain Stocks report confirmed 8.6 billion bushels of corn in all positions but with 60 percent of this quantity vulnerable on farms. Soybean stocks rose to 2.7 billion bushels at the beginning of March with 47 percent on farms. This figure was 48 percent higher than in March 2018 as farmers were holding their 2018 harvest in anticipation of a resolution of the trade dispute with China resulting in resumption of exports and a corresponding rise in price.

Currently there is no provision for USDA to compensate farmers from flood losses affecting harvested grain. In a recent Reuters article it was documented that 832 on-farm storage bins were located within areas subjected to heavy flooding. It is estimated that the value of 5 to 10 million bushels of corn and soybeans damaged could be worth between $17 and $35 million.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) noted that Congress has expressed an interest in introducing legislation to provide aid for damaged crops in storage. Addressing a meeting of farmers in Malvern, IA Grassley stated “If we have to pass a bill to do it, I hate to tell you how long that will take.”

In addition to damaged storage facilities, floods have impacted rail installations and broken levies which have affected navigability on the Missouri river. Waters rose so fast that farmers were in many cases unable to move machinery and equipment that has been damaged or destroyed.

Extensive flooding of regions with intrusion of water into storage facilities and installations suggests that attempts to salvage non-insured grains will represent the risk of fungal contamination and evolution of mycotoxins. Feed mills and companies and producers with on-farm mixing should therefore assay corn, other grains and DDGS for the presence of mycotoxins.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane