To date, the 2019 harvest season has progressed slower than “normal” harvest seasons, and as of the October 15th USDA crop progress report, corn and soybean harvest delays were 17 days and 16 days behind, respectively.

The significant challenges farmers must now face this season are the unfavorable drying conditions and higher grain moisture content. The following resources, sourced from the University of Minnesota Extension and NDSU Extension’s Ken Hellevang, offer valuable information for producers about storing, drying and handling wet grain.

Harvesting soybeans at a moisture content between 13 and 15 percent helps maximize weight while minimizing harvest losses. Spoilage during storage is a concern when moisture levels are high. If storage temperatures are below about 60 degrees F, you can usually keep soybeans at 13 percent moisture for about 6 months without mold problems. As moisture levels increase, however, the length of time soybeans can safely be stored decreases.

Storage time guidelines

As a general guideline, soybeans in storage tend to act about the same as corn with 2 percent more moisture content. For example, you can expect soybeans at 16 percent moisture to act like corn at 18 percent moisture.

We developed the following table for corn, so to adjust for soybeans, simply look at the column with a moisture content 2 percentage points greater than the soybeans in question.

For example, you could store 18 percent moisture soybeans at a temperature of 50 for about 63 days before there would be enough mold growth to cause price discounts or feeding problems. Note that aeration is always recommended with all storage facilities.

For more information about grain drying, equipment requirements and management recommendations, visit the University of Minnesota Extension’s Natural-air corn drying guidelines at

Ken Hellevang, Extension agriculture engineer at NDSU, has also compiled a news release with tips on storing high moisture soybeans, which can be found here:

Jason Ertl, Extension Educator-Ag Production Systems, Nicollet & Sibley County

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