University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
http://www.cfans.umn.edu
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Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

Extension and Outreach
Post-Harvest Handling of Crops

William Wilcke, Professor and Extension Engineer
Deborah Hansen, Information Technology Professional
Christy McKibben, Principal Administrative Specialist
Vance Morey, Professor
Colleen Cannon, Assistant Professor, Entomology


Objective

The objective of this program is to help managers of crop drying and storage systems (this includes farmers and other agribusiness personnel) increase profitability, improve product quality, and reduce energy use through selection of appropriate post-harvest equipment and proper management of that equipment.
Program Description

We distributed timely postharvest crop management information through press releases, e-mail notices to Extension Educators, radio interviews, articles written for Minnesota/Wisconsin Engineering Notes, and through our departmental website (http://www.bae.umn.edu/extens/postharvest). We developed a new Extension factsheet, Grain Storage Tips: Factors and Formulas for Grain Drying, Storage and Handling, FS-M1080, that was downloaded more than 2800 times from the Extension website and was distributed via paper copies to dozens of other individuals. We also participated in workshops and field days, and we responded to many individual requests for information by phone, letter, and e-mail. We worked with Extension personnel, farmers, agribusinesses, consultants, and equipment dealers.

Unusually warm average temperatures contributed to more problems with stored grain insects than normal in 2001 grain that was stored through the summer of 2002. We wrote news releases and fielded a number of questions about management of stored grain insects. Our emphasis was on using grain and facility management techniques that minimized the need for chemical insecticides. After several consecutive years of ideal weather conditions at harvest, weather during the 2002 corn and soybean harvest was unusually cold and wet, and for many farmers, harvest extended well into November. We wrote articles and answered many questions about harvesting, drying, and managing stored corn and soybeans during cold, wet weather.
Due to increased concern about genetically modified crops in the food supply and due to increasing acreages of value-enhanced crops, farmers and elevators are becoming more interested in identity preservation of crops. We gave presentations and distributed information on identity preservation, we continued to update a page on identity preservation on our departmental website, and we helped individual farmers plan grain handling systems that would allow for identity preservation.

Outcomes

We helped thousands of farmers and other grain handlers in the upper Midwest improve profitability and safety by providing information about managing stored grain to minimize insect infestation, managing grain during a cold, wet harvest, and about post-harvest handling of value-enhanced crops.

For Educators

Managing Grain in Storage (ppt)