Mother Nature has been pretty difficult to deal with lately. Because of the latest round of non-stop weather, milo harvest in our area just can't seem to get its feet moving.
For the past couple of weeks, it's been too wet to get into the field and make any real dent in bringing in what is sure to be a record milo crop this year. As a result, most of our milo crop is still in the field.
Test cuttings last week showed moisture levels over 17%, which is well above the ideal moisture level for storage. For grain that is too wet, the elevator has to dry it down by running it through large grain driers, which costs money. If the grain isn't dried down, the elevator would otherwise have to deal with problems such as grain rotting.
Not to mention, elevators are in the business of buying and selling grain – not water!
To compensate for the drying cost, the grain handling facilities in our area have a graduated discount rate for wet grain. At the Garden City Co-op in Garden City, Kansas, for instance, discounting on milo starts at 15.01% moisture.
For milo between 15.01% and 15.5% moisture, there's a charge of $0.04/bushel. At 17% - which is what our milo tested last week - the discount rises to $0.07/bushel. With the local cash price for new-crop milo currently at $2.68/bushel, we'd get only $2.61 figuring in the drying charge.
For milo that's extremely wet - 18% and above – the discount goes to 2 cents a bushel per ½ point increase in moisture. And right now with the weather we've been having, moisture in our area is sure to be well over 18%.
An ice storm over the weekend blanketed our farm and covered our fields in a thick sheet of ice. And since then we've had a non-stop slow drizzle of rain that continues to soak the fields.
And wouldn't you guess it, the forecast is calling for more cloudy and wet weather for the next two days. With that kind of forecast, harvest won't be picking up for us anytime soon.