Weigh Harvest, Storage Options
Weigh Storage, Harvest Options On Unharvested, High Moisture ‘Flowers
About 50,000 acres of sunflower remained unharvested at Christmas, which is less than 5% of the crop, according to the National Sunflower Association.
The deadline for submitting an insurance claim for a production loss on the 2000 sunflower crop was November 30. Producers whose sunflower were adjusted as a total loss or “zeroed out” cannot harvest any remaining crop, and must destroy it next spring. Crops not declared a total loss through insurance adjustment can still be harvested—and it may still be beneficial for producers to do so.
Unharvested sunflower can be expected to have reduced yield through such factors as shattering and broken stalks. Unharvested confection sunflower will likely be affected by hull discoloration and other quality problems. But oil content of sunflower still standing will remain unaffected.
The standing crop will have higher moisture, but even sunflower with as high as 18% moisture will be eligible for LDPs, according to the Farm Service Agency.
Furthermore, producers may be able to reduce price discounts for moisture by shipping direct to an oilseed processor, which may purchase oil sunflower with higher moisture (mid teens) using a discount factored as a percentage of price with no weight shrink, thus offering a better price potential to the producer.
NSA officials urge producers to research their storage and marketing options before harvesting sunflower that’s still standing.
As well, keep an eye on sunflower put in storage at high moisture levels over 16%. If temperatures rise above freezing, then fall again, or if there are pockets of heating within the pile, surface moisture might freeze kernels together, creating one big chunk or chunks of sunflower that will be more difficult to move from a bin.
Ken Hellevang, NDSU extension ag engineer, says sunflower with moisture 17% moisture or greater is well above the 8% moisture level recommended for long-term storage.
“Even sunflower at 15% moisture may not seem that wet, but sunflower at that moisture level is roughly equivalent to wheat at 20% moisture, and once it warms up, wheat at that moisture level will deteriorate quickly,” he says.
Dealing with high moisture sunflower is every producer’s judgement call, says Hellevang. With high temperature drying in the dead of winter inefficient and expensive, it might pencil out for some to store into early spring, dry to a more acceptable moisture level, then sell. For others, it might be better not to bother with drying and storage and sell immediately.
Contact your local extension educator for more information on sunflower storage management. NDSU has more information online at www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/plantsci/rowcrops/eb25w-10.htm (sunflower drying and storage) www.ag.ndsu.edu/abeng/postharvest.htm (grain drying, handling, and storage; fan selection software; publication, equipment, and other links) and www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/grainsto.htm (with links on temporary grain storage and grain drying)
The NSA web site also has information on storage in the archives of The Sunflower magazine, at www.sunflowernsa.com. – Tracy Sayler
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