“Wheat is looking about as pretty as I’ve seen it for a long time,” said Perdue’s Dick Cole, while speaking at the 2015 edition of Farming for Success at Penn State’s Research Station in Landisville recently. Cole added there were some of the better yields in the area despite having a shortfall, “meaning that it was planted late, didn’t have a lot of tillery in the fall and didn’t have a lot of tillery in the spring because it was a short spring.”
He was not as enthusiastic about wheat in some of the commonwealth’s other counties, particularly in western Pennsylvania. Though he realized he was preaching to the choir, Cole still urged attendees to get their wheat off early because that particular day’s exemplary weather fell into the rare category. “I have some rain gauges up here if anybody needs one, in case yours get too full and you need to double up,” he said, kidding on the square. “Every time you don’t get it off, you’re going to have problems with sprout and falling number. This year we should not have a problem with vomitoxin because we didn’t have any rain during flowering in this area. Outside of this area, they did and New York State is going to be a mess.”
Addressing changes in the industry, Cole spoke of grains in general and said, “We have started to see a number of people asking about last load haul. When you take your truck somewhere, you had better make sure that the places you are going to will take your corn off. A lot of places are starting to ask — what did you have on your truck last?” If you say you had manure on your truck, there’s a good chance that you might be booted out. Some places won’t even accept the washout. Perdue will not accept a washout if you’ve hauled manure on your truck. And they are looking at the last two loads. “When you go into Perdue,” Cole cautioned, “make sure that you have a copy of our washout policy, our last load policy. It’s going to happen down the road, at a lot of different places. If avian influenza comes anywhere close to this state, it will tighten up worse than ever before.” Obvious substances that need washouts are coal, bone meal, blood meal, and most fertilizers. Some residue can be swept out – cottonseed, dirt, topsoil, clean-fill. A lot of end users are asking questions such as, ‘What farm do they come from?’ Cole showed some wire ties, the type used to secure tarps over whatever is being hauled, to ensure minimal frost contamination. Tarps, by the way, must be in tip-top condition.
“I’m only going to say one thing about corn,” said Cole. “It looks fantastic the whole way through the country. Private individuals I look at are looking for a record deal for corn out in the Midwest, despite there being wet feet just about everywhere. Where there are wet feet places, there’s a lot of good corn in other places. It looks like totally fantastic deals this year.” Vomitoxin? “This type of year was like it was three or four years ago when a lot of places had high vom corn. We are in an area where you plant corn on corn on corn in no-till situations. If you get rain during pollination, your corn will be infected with vomitoxin, most likely. We have had a few guys spray corn from helicopters, the same as with wheat. They have had some limited success. The problem is that the spray doesn’t get down to the pollen; it is really hard to do that. This is a very good reason to have crop rotation – to try and keep your vom levels under control.”
Perdue has issued grain-shipping guidelines. Some are unique to their operations; others are simply common sense and are probably in use at other operations. A partial itemization of their concerns is listed here.
- Always pre-check trailers prior to loading. Beds and sides of trailer must be clean and bug free. Check the sideboard areas also. Tailgates and/or coal chutes must fit snugly or must be taped. Tarps must be in sound condition.
- Know the quality of your grain before you sell your crop. Document the grain condition prior to shipment. Test all outgoing grain for moisture. Test weight and write down the results on a shipping receipt. Check also for high F.M., damage, dark kernels, objectionable odors, excreta, insect damage and live infestation. Test all bins for vom, if necessary.
- Getting good equipment to test your outgoing grain is an excellent long-term investment. A quality test weight cup, moisture tester, and six-foot probe are a great start. Probing trucks is the only approved method of obtaining a representative sample. However, if no proof is available take three or four samples as the grain is loaded. Most destinations will proof-test every inbound load, and since all grain shipments are subject to destination approval, it is in your best interest to know precisely what you are shipping. Early detection of problems could save unnecessary discounts and possible rejection of your load. Good communication will avoid potential costly problems.
- Always check the last load hauled!