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Cost of drying wet corn

Harvesting corn below 15 percent moisture may be challenging as corn harvest begins progressing again this season. However, with correct environmental conditions, dry down rates can range from .25 to as much as 1 percent per day (depending on weather, hybrid, and ear characteristics).

Corn harvested between 16 and 20 percent moisture will not store in bins without artificial drying activities. And the wetter the corn, the more air volume it will take to keep grain from spoiling. Further, aeration works most efficiently for removing moisture when air temperatures are warmer, as it takes heat to "wick" moisture from corn kernels. Warmer air flowing through the pile increases the amount of moisture removed during a given time period. Keep in mind that as grain dries, "shrink" occurs, which is the weight loss from grain as water is evaporated. Therefore, it costs money to over dry grain. As a result, monitor the pile and when average grain moisture contents get near 15 percent, discontinue drying. Finally, continue monitoring the pile during the winter season to make sure it is staying in condition.

Following is a formula for estimating drying costs with propane heat source:

Drying cost (cents/percent point/bu) = (propane price ($/gallon) x .02) + (electricity price ($.kwh) x .01).

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