Researcher gives tips for using storage bags

Louisiana corn and soybean producers attending the recent 2008 Louisiana Corn and Soybean Forum in Delhi, La., were updated on research of corn storage.

Efforts are under way to find alternative sources of corn storage for farmers, according to Carol Pinnell-Alison, LSU AgCenter agent in Franklin Parish. Yields were exceptional in 2007, but those high yields resulted in some infrastructure shortage to hold the corn.

Regarding bagging, the agricultural agent reminded farmers that bags should be in a clean, well-drained site free from sharp objects and vegetation. Holes can let rodents in. Pinnell-Alison said deer or raccoons had not been a problem in her parish, but she knows of instances in other parts of the state.

“Make sure you seal the bags well,” the agent said. “Water can cause spoilage, which causes the whole bag to have a sour smell.” A bag can be aired out, but that adds expense.

Pinnell-Alison has conducted tests that show it is possible to store corn six months without any major problems or quality issues.

Regarding soybeans, Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said the major disease that affects that crop is Asian soybean rust (ASR), but that current temperatures are “working in our favor.”

Cercospora blight is also a significant disease in the state. In addition, Padgett said, he has concerns about stem canker, which was prevalent in the 1980s, but is “creeping back in.” Farmers should choose soybean varieties tested in their areas.

Matt Stephens, LSU AgCenter poultry agent, discussed the increasing use of chicken litter as fertilizer, noting that a neighbor's proximity should be taken into account. Chicken litter results in strong odors for a short period of time.

“Inform your neighbors when you put out litter. Stay away from property lines and public areas,” Stephens said.

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