If you’ve ever left a wet towel or wet piece of clothing in a heap for a few days where it wasn’t exposed to much sunlight or airflow, you’ve experienced the gross, musty, maybe even moldy, consequences of that mistake. Corn and soybeans, which are often harvested in high heat, high humidity conditions and stored en masse in dark grain bins, are ideal environments for mold and mildew to grow, making them a similar, though much more costly mistake.
Luckily, the remedy to the damp, still air of a grain bin is pretty simple. All you need is a little wind. Well, maybe it’s not quite that simple. Technically, what’s needed is “aeration.” Controlled, conditioned, forced air, provided by fans, moving through a mass of grain to make it suitable for storage.
Now, unless you’ve got some 747 jet engines, aeration isn’t going to turn a wet heap of grain into a dry pile ready for long-term storage. Grain will need to be dried with a grain dryer before storage. But what proper aeration can do is give you a few additional options with your grain. For instance, corn that has been aerated to a moisture content of 17% can be fed to livestock during the winter. 15% can be removed from storage before the start of summer, and 13% can be stored into summer and even beyond a year.
Proper aeration, by the way, means cooling fans should move 2 to 5 cubic feet of air per second per ton. So a fan blowing on 100 tons of grain should be pushing 300 cubic feet of air per second. The best way to achieve this is with automatic controllers, which will turn fans on and off at the most advantageous times (and can run as little as 100 hours a month). Additionally, this can prevent fans from blowing during high humidity times, which will effectively work to spread all that nice moisture around and upset the moisture content levels. Well-aerated grain maintains uniform temperature and moisture content, meaning your end product is more consistent and reliable.
If you are in the market for grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience. Click here to see an overview of our Grain Systems capabilities.