NGFA was recently was notified by a few member companies of isolated incidents where the post-harvest respiration of some new-crop harvested corn appears to be occurring rapidly after unloading; thus, leading to elevated levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and depleted oxygen levels -- particularly in low-lying storage areas -- both at farms and commercial facilities.

Importantly, this respiration, which reports have linked primarily to high-moisture corn deliveries, has occurred over a period of hours, rather than days. When handling a wet crop, it is possible that unusually high levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and low levels of oxygen may be present in areas where employees work, such as boot pits, tunnels and basements.

In these situations, managers are advised to take precautions by monitoring atmospheric conditions when working in or near areas where high-moisture corn is present, particularly boot pits and other below-grade-level work spaces.

As the bulk of this fall's harvest nears, the NGFA wishes to remind the industry about prudent procedures to protect employee safety, as well as applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and relevant NGFA and OSHA safety training materials that are available. Members also should consider sharing this information with farmer-customers to apprise them of this potential situation when storing new-crop corn in farm bins.

Members with any questions regarding this advisory are encouraged to contact NGFA Director of Safety and Regulatory Affairs Jess McCluer at 202-289-0873, or by email at jmccluer@ngfa.org.

See full advisory for additional information.