Farmers Impact Harvest Quality With Best Practices

Farmers make adjustments to a harvest header for  a quality corn harvest.

This year, U.S. farmers steered their equipment into fields to harvest an estimated 14.6 million metric tons (574 million bushels) of sorghum and 346 million tons (13.6 billion bushels) of corn.

Farmers rely on best practices, or most effective procedures, for timing harvest and adjusting equipment to help achieve an efficient and quality grain harvest. They also know that the efforts put in early in the season to prepare fields, select seed varieties and reduce pests and weeds ultimately pay off at harvest.

Basis

Basis

Basis is the difference between the futures price and the local cash price. It is referred to as basis, basis price or price basis.

Example: May futures contract trading at $2.96 with a local cash price of $2.63, the basis is considered -$0.33, which means 33 cents lower than or under May.

High Sorghum Yields In Kansas

Kansas sorghum harvest. Photo courtesy of Kim Baldwin.

Kansas sorghum farmer Adam Baldwin had a dry harvest season, which helped him complete harvest more easily than in some past years. He finished harvesting his crop the first week of November, earlier than he expected. Typically in Kansas, sorghum plants must freeze to help dry the crop to moisture levels acceptable for harvest and storage. An early freeze helped Baldwin’s plants dry faster.

Barley Farmer Manages Stored Grain, Awaits Contract

For North Dakota barley farmer Mark Seastrand, farm activity this time of year focuses on monitoring the barley he harvested in August. To do this, Seastrand routinely uses a grain sampling probe to test the moisture levels of his grain in his on-farm storage bins.

In addition, he uses fans to cool the grain if the temperature or moisture level rises to unfavorable levels.

The grain will remain in storage on his farm until delivery in June or July.

Preventative Measures Pay Off For Corn

An image taken by a drone of corn harvest at Greg Alber's farm in Northeast Iowa. Photo courtesy of Greg Alber.

It was a good, dry harvest season for Greg Alber on his family’s Iowa farm. With ideal weather conditions, harvest finished the first week of November, two weeks ahead of the 2014 harvest. Additionally, most of the crop dried down to desired moisture levels for storage, and the corn quality is good, Alber said. This year, the farm’s corn recorded test weights of 62 pounds per bushel (79.8 kilograms per hectoliter).

Herbed Barley Scotch Broth

Nonstick cooking spray
2 leeks, thinly sliced, white part only
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/2 pound boneless lean lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Herb bundle: 6 sprigs thyme, 4 sprigs Italian parsley and 1 sprig rosemary

Sorghum Pilaf

Sorghum Pilaf

1 cup uncooked sorghum grain
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

Salt to taste

Dash freshly cracked pepper

Milling Produces Multiple Food Grade Sorghum Options

Milled food grade sorghum products.

The global market for gluten-free products has been on the rise in recent years and is expected to reach $6.2 billion by 2018, according to MarketsandMarkets, a U.S. based global market research company. To meet the increasing demand, food manufacturers are relying on gluten-free ingredients to produce baked goods, cereals, snacks and other products that meet consumer demands.

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