Cereals: Harvest and Storage
| Soybeans | Forages
| Cereals | Dry
Edible Beans |
811: Agronomy Guide> Cereal
> Harvest and Storage
Table of Contents
Operator manuals contain the best starting point for
setting up a small grain harvest. Occasionally, conditions arise
that require further adjustments. Harvest of fusarium-damaged grain,
lodged crops or crops infected with dwarf or common bunt requires
special attention. The easiest and best way to improve the grain
sample in these situations is with proper combine adjustment. Often
the difference between a marketable crop and sample grade wheat
is in the combine set-up. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Storage of the crop allows the opportunity to upgrade
the grain before delivery to an elevator or mill. This is particularly
important for wheat infested with any of the bunt diseases. Many
producers have experimented with re-cleaning the grain through screen
cleaners, seed cleaners and fanning mills to upgrade the crop to
a better sample. Elevator operators can also do this, for a fee.
This can have tremendous economic benefit, where grain can be moved
from salvage grade to milling grade. Upgrading the grain makes it
much easier for the elevator to handle the crop and find a purchaser
for the grain.
Combines use air blast to separate grain from the chaff in a normal harvest operation. Many of the Fusarium-infected kernels are small, shrunken and lighter than sound kernels. It is often possible to blow a large proportion of these Fusarium-damaged kernels out the back of the combine by increasing the air blast above normal ranges. In 1996, many producers operated combines at the maximum windblast to increase grade. Research conducted by Dr. Art Schaafsma (University of Guelph, Ridgetown College) in 1996 found a tenfold decrease in Fusarium-damaged kernels in the grain when fan speeds were operated at maximum blast (up to 300 rpm above book settings). Operating cleaning fans at these levels causes an additional loss of good kernels, up to 0.13 t/ha (2 bu/acre) Table 4-20, Effect of Different Fan-Speeds on Wheat Yield. This small yield reduction is insignificant if the crop can be made marketable, rather than being downgraded to feed, sample or salvage.
Source: Dr. Art Schaafsma, University of Guelph, Ridgetown College,
Harvest should not begin above 16% moisture if significant
Fusarium is present. High moistures reduce the ability to blow out
lighter Fusarium-damaged kernels.
Slowing the forward ground speed of the combine may
further reduce Fusarium levels. This allows increased separation
of the grain mass, giving the increased windblast time to separate
the good kernels from the infected kernels. Consider adjusting the
cleaning sieves (chaffer) to a more wide-open setting. This directs
the air blast vertically, slowing rearward movement of the grain
mass and aiding cleaning and separation. Use caution to keep heads
and straw particles out of the grain sample if the chaffer is opened.
Unfortunately, there will be times that the grain
cannot be raised to milling standards. If this occurs, consider
storing as much of the damaged grain as possible. Often, as harvest
finishes, the pressure eases on those involved in handling the crop.
Marketers and millers are able to assess the markets that do exist
and the best way to condition wheat to fit that market.
Remember that wheat going into storage must be dry
(14% moisture or below). Damp wheat allows the Fusarium to continue
to grow and produce toxins, further downgrading the crop. Check
stored grain frequently to ensure that the grain stays in condition.
There are several effective options for harvesting lodged grain crops.
|Creation Date:||30 April 2009|
|Last Reviewed:||30 April 2009|