Monday, January 30, 2017

Kernel Cleaning for Grain Premiums


Growers are always looking for ways to improve their bottom line. Identity preserving grain is an excellent way to increase premiums. Hard endosperm, high extractable starch, conventional corn and High Oil corn offer the possibility for additional premiums. 

Specific management techniques such as kernel cleaning your planter, flushing harvest equipment and identity preserving the grain are crucial to your success. Kernel cleaning your planter is a vital step to ensure hybrid purity. The only way to accomplish this is to carefully kernel clean each box. Kernel clean means dumping, shaking and twisting the metering device until every kernel is removed from the planter box. What happens if you choose the quicker way of planting down the seed and just dumping the new hybrid on top? A research study performed by Burrus showed nearly 2% of the seed was still being planted with the initial hybrid up to an hour into continuous planting.


The experiment was performed using a John Deere Finger Pickup unit on a check stand. Untreated yellow seed was placed in the bottom of the planter box. We used 8,000 kernels, 4.5 lbs. of an 80,000 kernel unit weighing 45 lbs. That quantity of seed would not plant a round of half mile rows. An addition of 80,000 kernels of treated seed was dumped on top of the yellow seed. Every five minutes a sample was taken to analyze the percent of yellow and treated seed. The first treated seed was observed in less than one minute. After 80,000 kernels had gone through the check stand, the last 4.5 lbs. of seed was analyzed. 24% of the seed left in the bottom of the planter was the first yellow seed that started in the box.


There are other ways to help minimize instances of contamination. Select a field or fields that minimize contamination from cross pollination from neighboring fields with potential GMO pollen. Another way to reduce possible contamination is to harvest buffer zones or field frames of 24 rows and deliver it to the elevator as regular #2 corn. These practices should help improve your odds of identity preserving your grain and earning the premiums you are after.

Written by: Tim Greene

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