Corn quality

In the upper Midwest, grain producers are preparing for bin-busting yields. For many corn growers, this means getting as much storage capacity cleared on-farm as possible to avoid harvest delays because of long lines at country elevators.

This means quite a bit of corn is being or was recently transferred from on-farm storage to country elevators. Some of the delivered grain was sold, some was sold with a price later contract and some was delivered for storage. However, all of this corn is subject to being used in swine feeds if the elevator toll mills for your site(s).

For those of us buying swine feed from toll mills this means we’re most likely seeing considerable variability in corn quality. As corn producers push to completely empty on-farm storage, they are including all of the corn at the bottom of leaking bins, corn that wasn’t properly managed for seasonal temperatures, etc. This corn is ending up in our diets and we won’t see new crop corn for 4-6 weeks yet.

I had a discussion with a producer yesterday about increasing pig production problems at sites with feed produced by a toll mill that was on the receiving end of this ‘quality’ corn. Some of the problems related to possible lower energy in the corn while others were feed intake related (possible mold contamination). There are also milling problems as the variability in corn quality means particle size variation will increase.

Normally, swine grow-finish diets do not include mold inhibitors and binding agents. However, for the next 6-8 weeks if you are on the receiving end of this variable quality corn it may pay to look at these products. Have a conversation with your nutritionist in the next few days to see if you need to be including these products in your diets so you can prevent some of the production problems that might be caused by ‘bad corn’.

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