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Optimal Management of Molds in Stored Corn


Author Info

  • Yigezu, Yigezu A.
  • Alexander, Corinne E.
  • Preckel, Paul V.


Long term storage of corn is becoming more common due to the recent increase in the demand for corn by ethanol plants. Infection of maize kernels by toxigenic fungi remains a challenging storage problem despite decades of research. Experts in storage management propose the use of a combination of preventive and monitoring-based responsive strategies in response to mold risks. In this paper, a stochastic dynamic programming model is solved to determine the expected profitability and optimal combination, timing and intensity of the proposed mold management strategies using farmers’ existing infrastructure. The results show that even with relatively high monitoring costs, maintaining high quality grain using a monitoring based optimal mold management strategy costs less than the benefit it fetches. Farmers’ current typical practice of aerating the grain until the end of December and doing nothing thereafter bears a high risk of economic losses if grain is to be stored until later during the summer. Generally, the optimal mold management strategy depends on monitoring the biophysical conditions of the grain and the time period under consideration. If the in-bin temperature is high and less than 5% of kernels are mold damaged, then aerating when the outside temperature is at least 3oC less than the in-bin temperature and continuing to store the grain is the optimal strategy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida with number 6572.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea08:6572

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Related research

Keywords: Mold management; stored corn; expected profitability; integrated pest management; monitoring; aeration; stochastic dynamic programming; Crop Production/Industries; Farm Management;

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  1. Westcott, Paul C., 2007. "U.S. Ethanol Expansion Driving Changes Throughout the Agricultural Sector," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, September.
  2. John A. Fox & David A. Hennessy, 1999. "Cost-Effective Hazard Control in Food Handling," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(2), pages 359-372.
  3. Anonymous, 1989. "Task Force Report: Major Conclusions," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 4(4).
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