Making Money Off Of High Moisture Corn
26 Jul 239 min 10 sec

XtremeAg's Johnny Verell fired up the combine to shell corn last year on August 20th. He was finished with corn harvest a month later. Even by western Tennessee farming standards, Johnny pulls the trigger fast on corn harvest. Why? Because harvesting corn at 30% moisture makes him more money than if he allows it to dry down to the teens. Mr. Verell and his agronomic partner Brian Adams join Damian to explain the method to their high moisture madness. If you’re interested in: higher yields, avoidance of “phantom loss,” capturing positive basis in the markets, spreading out your labor, minimizing weather risk, and other tips to make more money, watch this!


00:00 Making high moisture corn make you more money. That's the subject with Johnny Verell and our guest Brian Adams with Volunteer Ag Services here in Jackson, Tennessee. In their office, 00:10 there's a article hanging on the wall about their, shall I say, propensity to go out before you're really supposed to, 00:16 you go out and harvest his corn when nobody else is. Why are you doing that? You're harvesting winds like what, 30 some percent moisture? Talk 00:22 To me. Usually we try to start around 30% and try to be wide open, you know, in the upper twenties. So it just works out really well for us. 00:29 Lets us get a head start in our area in West Tennessee, a lot of times we could really capitalize on a lot of premium basis, uh, going into harvest. All 00:36 Right, so I touched on this just a little bit with Kelly Garrett. He says, you know what, 00:41 I don't wanna wait until that corn's hanging on the plant at 18% moisture cause I'm losing money. And I said, 00:46 how is that you don't have to pay anything for propane then why? I call it phantom, you lost. Um, 00:52 and they call it phantom because nobody understands exactly where these bushels are going or what's going on, but there's always a difference. Guy goes out, 01:01 starts combining the field. Johnny for example, will start a combining the field to get rained out about four or five passes in, it rains for a little while and the fall he comes back a week and a half, 01:10 two weeks later, the corn's drier than it was. But the corn's making less money than it was. There's definitely Less yield. Less 01:15 Yield. Yeah. It's definitely making a less yield. Um, I think a lot of that's probably got to do with speeding up that natural physiological process of corn drying out on its own in the field 01:26 under environmental conditions it could be less favorable. So that's something to consider. That's part of the reason why you do it. 01:32 You avoid some of these less favorable conditions. Is we run into down here later in the fall? I'm not sure. Well, yeah, you're saying like all of a sudden the fall, 01:39 what Matt Miles talks about, if I wait too long a hurricane might blow up from the Gulf. Yep. Yep. And that's not the phantom mule loss. That's No, no. Just lost. 01:45 That's a wind laying it over. That's totally different. This happens with it standing and looks like it's in perfectly good hell. When I was a kid, uh, 01:52 the idea was you were wasting money on propane if you went out there pre prematurely because why not just let nature bring it down to, you know, 01:59 18% and then you, you know, you take a few ticks off of it down to 15% in your grain bed. That seems like antiquated, uh, thinking nowadays to you, doesn't it? Yeah. 02:07 And it's, we've really changed how we are. We try to start and get going as early as we can. We can run less equipment, get over more acres in the season doing it. Well, it 02:14 Spreads out Your time. That's right. It spreads out your manpower and so you've got three or four combines to cover a certain number of acres and you've got a lot of things going on in the fall. 02:22 Like when did you start last season? 2022 season. When did you combine your first bushel of corn? Probably about August 20th. 02:27 August 20th. When did you finish? Uh, probably September 20th. Okay. So at least a full four weeks of corn harvest. 02:35 And it didn't pressure you because you started early enough and, and there was no environmental problems coming in by September 20th 02:40 And last year was very unusual for us cuz we had a crop that was so stressed. We went 50 plus days without rain. 02:45 That crop was trying to fall over trying to die basically the whole time. So our goal was to go out there and get it harvested, you know, 02:51 a lot of before it does follow. Yeah. A lot of people are like, well we're not gonna make a yield. 02:54 We don't wanna spend the money on the natural gas to propane. We wanted to get it out, 02:57 we wanted to make sure we didn't have have any type of toxin issues going on cuz that plant was so opened up to disease and everything else cause of the stress. 03:04 He's Exactly right. Everybody last year kinda looked and they gave up on the crop, right. They said, well it's, you know, it's not gonna make nothing. 03:10 I'm done with it. And I, I think that's the wrong attitude. I think it's uh, let's go get it before something else happen. Get 03:15 It being You gotta, you got a whole bunch of bins. We're standing here in the shade of some bins, thank goodness cuz it's a hundred degrees outside. 03:20 But you've also got this big beautiful grain dryer. It's a new addition in the farm, but did you even use it when you're taking in August 20th corn at 30%? 03:28 Do you need to dry it or is there some facility that wants corn so bad? Delve dry it just to get it because they're, they're out of corn for the 03:34 Most part. There's not a facility around here that I take it over 17 and a lot of our river terminals when you take it over 15 and a half. 03:41 Okay. But you do the drying and you said you get some positive basis. So that's something that uh, 03:45 I was talking about with Matt Miles before he is like, hey, everybody needed logus corn. 03:48 So I went out there and I made a buck more per bushel. Right. Even though it was wet. Go ahead and tell me about that. Yeah, so like a 03:53 Lot of times we'll start drying grain and we'll har we'll harvest as much as we can in August and try to get it hauled by usually the first week of September to 04:00 capitalize on that premium. And it more than offsets the cost of the natural gas to propane. It pays for the dryer extremely fast. If you're making really good yields, 04:08 you know, we got some good data. We have a field day every year where we do like agronomic practices at it and yeah, 04:13 for two years in a row we did studies on that and Brian's got some of the good data on that, but it was a big return for us. 04:18 In the old days, we used to think that it cost you, like you'd get docked five to 6 cents a bushel for drying. There's no way when you're going from 30% to 15%, 04:28 you want to give up 75 to 90 cents or 80 cents per per bushel of drying. You couldn't a $6 corn, 04:35 how much does it cost you to dry a bushel of corn down from 30% moisture to 15 where the river terminals will 04:41 Take it. On our farm, it costs us about 10 cents to dry it that far. So Less than a penny per moisture point per 04:47 That's actually right. And that's because of this new unit right here. Yeah, this dryer here is a very efficient dryer. The, 04:51 the grain comes out at ambient temperature. So I, when I go in the bin, I don't have to run the fans to cool the grain, 04:56 but it also blows all the heat out of the corn that we just put heat into and puts it up in the corn above. 05:01 So it's reclaiming all your heat and that's what's making it so efficient. All right 05:04 Brian, I wanna talk about this thing right here because it used to be that your green dryer and, and you have an old uh, system over there. 05:11 It was coming out at like a hundred some odd degrees cuz it had propane flame blowing on it and it wouldn't the bin, if it's cold night then your bin sweats. 05:18 Does that happen now? No, it doesn't happen now. All right. Why is this magic? The Way this dryer feeds in? It feeds in from the top and it falls down. 05:26 It looks like aple cold board from the price is right. It works similar too. Okay, so it's coming back and forth 05:31 Hotter at the top. Yep. Cools down every step of the way down. And so by the time it comes out it will be ambient air temperature, 05:39 whatever it is. If it's 85 out, it'll be 85 degrees when it comes out. If it's 65 degrees out it'll be 65. 05:45 But it's efficient in that it doesn't lose heat. It reuses that heat. Johnny might could explain that a little better than I could on exactly how that 05:52 process works. But from top down you're stepping down, getting cooler, cooler, cooler. 05:57 You're not stress drying over drying that corn like you would in an old batch dryer and then you're gonna crack it and you're gonna have issues with quality 06:03 at that point. You don't deal With that. You went from 300 bushels per hour of drying capacity to Yeah, I had uh, 15 per 15 points removal running about 2,500 bushel an hour. 06:13 2,500 bushels per hour to take 15 points of moisture off of it. It used to be 300 bushels per hour. The dryer would use nine times yourself, 06:20 almost eight times yourself. And some of this, what was your cost back in the old batch dryer over there? Uh, probably about 15, 16 cents for the sign. 06:28 Okay, so you've have third more, you've almost, uh, okay. Yes. Uh, is this the only way you can make money off of high moisture? 06:34 So the person that doesn't have a fancy grain drying situation, should they still be harvesting higher moisture corn because of the phantom 06:41 loss? Absolutely. And I mean the trials that we ran on our farm over the past few years have been really big as far as the yield gain that you've had. 06:48 And Brian's got some good data on that, That that number oddly enough was 32 bushels difference each year. And that's compared from a 20, 06:57 I think we started at 28 and then 15 were the numbers we harvested at were 6% moisture at 15% moisture. Those were our targets. Um, 07:06 oddly enough it was 32 bushel difference each year, but that equates to about 12% gain basically. So if I, if I, if I wait till my corn is around 15 to 17% moisture, 07:17 I'm giving up About 12% roughly the numbers bush about bushels. That's right. Whatever that yield number is, it worked out to be about 12% and like I said, 07:25 oddly enough it was about 32 bushels each year. Very similar yield levels. Now there's some caveats to that. 07:32 We mentioned earlier that in this deal harvesting high moisture, phantom yield loss, subject to environmental differences. 07:40 If you look through literature from universities and other places that have done this, if you move up into the corn belt, 07:45 that number is not quite as great Damien. Uh, but I'd think for somebody like Johnny down here in the southern environment, Matt, Chad, yeah. Kevin, guys that go through this really rough heat. 07:55 I mean we go through it a lot of times all the way up into October. Yeah. And uh, when you're subjecting the corner to that, 08:00 I think you can certainly expect more. Now does that mean it's worth less for Kelly or for Lee or somebody like that way up there? No, I don't. It may not be a full 12%. Right. 08:10 But I guarantee you the returns, I mean it's According by a Wealth E even in the North corn belt, 08:14 they're probably still hurting themselves by letting the corn get too dry before the harvest. 08:18 Absolutely. And I mean that's, that's when no weather events and you know, if you take a 200 bushel environment and you sit there and have 10% yield loss, 08:25 that's 20 bushel. Yeah. And a lot, there's a lot of 200 bushel corn here in the United States. Yeah. And, and the difference too, everybody wants to know about the economics. 08:32 That 12% loss year, one of that study, which was 2018, uh, Johnny per acre, but about $50 and 88 cents more in his pocket in year one. That's 08:44 Half the Cost of drying. That's net, that's cost. That's a cost plus the gain. So 50 bucks net for doing it. Why wouldn't you experiment? 08:52 That's what we're talking about here. Making a high moisture corn, uh, make more money for you if you harvest it before maybe grandpa told you, 08:58 you should. Johnny Rell. Brian Adams, Damon Mason coming at you in front of this really cool superior grain dragon system here at Verell Farms, Jackson, Tennessee.

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