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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.
“The cold weather in North Dakota is favorable for on-farm storage with minimal damage,” Seastrand said. “The critical time for us is the spring and early summer when the temperature warms and the stored grain is susceptible to moisture from condensation.”
Seastrand plans to rotate his fields next spring and plant a broadleaf crop such as soybeans, wheat or sunflowers in acres where he planted barley in 2015. This change in crops is necessary to maintain proper soil health and nutrient composition in the fields.
While Seastrand is trying to plan his 2016 crop, his contract for next year is delayed as the maltsters, have not made decisions for the coming year.
“By this time of year, we typically have our contracts signed for next year, but the maltsters haven’t decided what price to offer and how many acres they will contract,” Seastrand said.