What to Do with Grain Impacted by Floods

What to Do with Grain Impacted by Floods? The agricultural losses in the states of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin due to flooding are in the billions of dollars. Farmers in those states now have to figure out what to do with stored crop that fell victim to this historic flooding.

In just one Iowa county close to 400,000 bushels of soybeans and more than a million bushels of corn are flooded. And that is just the beginning. Even before the flooding, snowmelt had covered stored grain. The past month has seen even more rainfall, putting additional pressure on struggling farmers.

Grain impacted by floods of river water must be destroyed because of the potential contaminants in the water, according to the Food and Drug Administration. River-based floodwaters can bring hazards and cause grain to spoil quickly. Flooding doesn’t just destroy grain, it negatively impacts storage structures, as well.

Many people are under the mistaken impression that water that comes up from tiles and pits is safe but this is not true. Storm and sanitary sewers, in most cases, are compromised in floods, as well. That means tile water may have animal waste products, chemicals and a variety of other contaminants in it.

So can any grain be saved? While it is possible to save some grain in a bin that may not have been flooded, farmers must proceed with an abundance of caution. The FDA offers some tips in these circumstances:

  1. Take the good grain on top of flooded grain by removing it from the top or side. Do not attempt to pass good grain down through flooded grain.
  2. Keep in mind that the reclaim conveyors and pits under bins also contain flood waters.
  3. Make sure that all good grain has been removed before getting rid of contaminated grain.
  4. Do not start aeration fans on flooded bins.
  5. Have the bin and any electrical components inspected by an electrician to ensure that it is no longer energized. Do not try to salvage the bin yourself, instead, hire professionals who specialize in salvaging bins.
  6. Wear protective equipment when working with moldy grain. By the time water recedes, grain will be moldy.
  7. Be careful not to track mud or gravel from flooded areas into good grain.

Finally, if you have any questions about whether or not your grain impacted by floods can be saved, make sure and talk to an expert.