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Grain bin capacity around the United States will likely be fully utilized following this year's harvest.
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According to a recent Reuters news release, this year’s large corn and soybean crop paired with low market prices is pressuring producers to put a lot of their crop in storage, but grain bins around the country are filling up and storage options are becoming limited.
Reuters reports U.S. on-farm storage capacity is at over 13 billion bushels, its highest mark in 25 years, but this year’s crop is likely to be large enough to dwarf the available space by several billion bushels. In fact, corn and soybean output is expected to outgrow capacity levels by 4.84 billion bushels, an issue that will likely force many farmers to sell off a portion of their crops that they would otherwise prefer to store.
This issue is especially prevalent in Missouri, where the corn harvest is predicted to be 160 bushels per acre, the second highest yield on record. Frank Wideman, MU Extension natural resources engineer, said Bootheel-area farmers are talking about alternative ways to store corn. "A lot of the farming community would like to hold onto grain in hopes that prices improve over the winter,” he said.
Wideman added that some Missouri farmers are modifying existing structures such as machine sheds or hay barns to house some of the grain. While these structures are not made to support grain, producers are fortifying them with wood and adding moisture-proof liners with hopes of preserving grain until prices rise again.
As the harvest rolls on, United States crop producers will likely need to make grain storage decisions when shutting down their combines due to the large crop output and low market prices.