When it comes to keeping grain healthy and profitable, there are few things that can be as catastrophic and frustrating as improperly dried and stored grain. And while it may sound as simple as placing the grain in a bin, shutting the door, and leaving it alone for a while, proper grain storage is actually far more complicated. In fact, while poor grain quality, rot, and pests can create storage problems, it’s the mundane reality of uncontrolled temperatures that’s most likely to put grain out of condition.
With this in mind, we’ve decided to put together a series on grain drying and storage. To start with, we’ll go over some basic tips to keep in mind when drying grain. If, after reading this article, you’d like more information on any of these tips, take a look at our Grain Drying Manual.
- Grain aeration is key. Grain spoilage, brought on by heat and moisture, is a fast, snowballing type of process. Keeping grain well aerated helps prevent moisture and heat pockets from building inside a pile. Grain is never dried to 0% moisture content, but it’s crucial to keep moisture evenly distributed throughout the grain.
- Temperature is also key. During the cool months, grain at the top and along the sides of the bin will cool faster, while the grain in the center will stay warmer. As cool air presses down along the sides of the bin, warm air from the center will rise to the top of the bin. This air circulation will create condensation that can result in too much moisture. To prevent this, keep the grain temperature as even as possible, and close to the outside temperature.
- Keep grain well distributed and level. Broken kernels and fines will tend to congregate together, and because they’re broken, they’re most likely to mold first. Redistribution and spreading of grain will keep these mold pockets from starting and will help protect the rest of the grain.
- Keep grain above freezing. Frozen kernels not only plug systems and restrict airflow, but thawing frozen grain will result in condensation and unwanted moisture.
- Preventative insect control is far cheaper, better, and safer than rescue treatment methods after insects have already arrived. Clean equipment and evenly distributed grain go a long way towards preventing the spread of insects. Conversely, foreign material, mold, and high moisture are prime breeding conditions for insects. Grain can be treated if insects do become a problem, but the solution is almost always fumigation.
The importance of grain drying can’t be overstated and there is a lot to take into consideration, and we will get more in depth as we continue this series. As always, if you are in need of grain drying, grain storage, 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.