Rain, moisture and grain…

An article in The Short Straw series by Lisa Castleman, Agronomist, Ag Services, Riverina Local Land Services (0427 201 963 or lisa.castleman@lls.nsw.gov.au)

It was always the concern this season that the rain wouldn’t stop when it needed to. The last rainfall event was too late to add to crop yields in southern NSW. This week the rain isn't wanted as grain is either in the final stages of ripening or waiting to be harvested.

rain, moisture and grain

Rain at harvest-time not only delays our harvest but threatens grain quality and this is not only frustrating but costly, even with excellent grain prices on offer this season. If your load of grain doesn’t meet the specifications for milling quality wheat or malting quality barley and is deemed feed, then what are your options for the loads to follow?

If grain is to be stored on-farm then moisture limits still need to come back down to acceptable limits of below 12.5% for handling and grain storage. Grain with variable and/or high moisture levels will deteriorate further and can host fungal growth. Getting feed quality grain tested can be very useful by offering objective data for marketing purposes to the stock feed industry.

In the Riverina region we have an independent Feed Quality Testing laboratory on our door-step at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural laboratory beside Charles Sturt University. For stock feed purposes the test will include Dry Matter and Dry Matter Digestibility% (the proportion of the dry matter in a feed which can be digested by an animal) Crude Protein %, Metabolisable Energy (ME), Fibre and other analyses. Their Customer Service Unit can be phoned on 1800 675 623 for the quantity of grain, how to find the address for your sample delivery and pricing.

Animal feed testing (nsw.gov.au)

Shot or sprung grain does not re-germinate a second time. Weather damaged grain not shot or sprung may still need to be tested for germination % before setting it aside for next year’s seed supply.

The GRDC site also has an excellent article on pre-harvest sprouting and how sprouting affects grain quality: Sprouting grain puts a dampener on quality - GRDC

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