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Northern Illinois Agriculture

University of Illinois Extension
bin corn

Corn emergence, in November?

Posted by Russel Higgins - Corn

Can corn emerge in November? If the corn is high moisture and stored in a bin that is starting to heat, then the answer is yes! Sprouting grain in the bin is an indicator of inadequate aeration. For those who are storing high moisture corn in on-farm storage, cold is a good thing! For long term storage corn should be at 15% moisture and 40ºF. This will prevent most mold growth and insect activity in the grain. When moisture content is above 16.5% and grain temperature is above 40ºF, you can expect some level of mold growth in the grain. Heating of the grain mass results as the fungal organisms metabolize the starches in the grain. The rate of fungal growth will accelerate with higher grain temperatures. For shorter term storage, higher moisture corn can be stored if properly cooled. For example, a chart provided by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers shares that corn at 22% moisture has a "shelf life" of

· 17 days @ 60 degrees

· 38 days @ 50 degrees

· 85 days @ 40 degrees

When harvest is complete and the bins are full, don't forget to continue monitoring stored grain monthly for signs of heating. Using a grain probe is best, but if unavailable turn on the aeration fan and lean into the access hatch and use your senses as a tester. If  the air hitting your face feels warmer than expected or you small a musty odor, run the fan long enough to push a temperature front through the bin. If the bin is equipped with a stirring system run two or three rounds to break up hot spots and to equalize the moisture throughout in the grain mass.

A quick reminder, never enter a bin that is being emptied without adequate safety precautions in place.

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