State officials are offering some advice to farmers who had grain in a silo that got flooded or had hay bales submerged in flood waters.
Alex Moon of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says farmers can grind the ruined corn and spread it out on their farm fields. "It’s a very low, per acre application rate," Moon says. "…Really what we’re trying to do it have it at a rate that won’t have too much impact on the soil properties itself, so that is an option, and then there is also contacting the nearest landfill, if you have smaller quantities, to see if they would be able to take it."
Leaving ruined grain and hay in a pile is dangerous, according to the D.N.R., as wet grain molds and heats quickly and it can combust — burst into flames. Wet hay is particularly combustible and should be quickly disposed.
As for the ruined corn, Moon says it’s best to disc it into the ground. "One, just so you keep vectors — animals, birds, things of that nature — from getting at it," Moon says. "If you have hay bales, many farmers manage their dead livestock on the farm by composting, and that hay can be used as a base material and then also to cover the carcass so it can compost properly."
It’s too soon to tell how many farmers were impacted by this year’s flooding, according to Moon. "We meet daily and our field office in southeast Iowa where we have most of the farming operations that were impacted — they’re still trying to assess the damage and the flood waters are still in some areas," Moon says.
Moon suggests that farmers who have specific questions about disposing of ruined grain contact their local Iowa State University extension office.
Here’s a website that has more information: http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/feedAndFertilizer/pdfs/FloodwaterandGrain.pdf