One of the realities of farming that many people don’t always think about is how actually getting something to grow, through flood, drought, and storm, is only part of the battle. After grain is actually harvested, there’s an equally involved process that goes into simply storing it that can be just as time consuming. Unsurprisingly, there is a different protocol for storing grain effectively in the summer than in the winter.
Since the winter season is fully upon us, it seems like as good a time as discuss some tips for how to cool grain for proper winter storage. If, after reading this article, you’d like more information on any of these tips, take a look at our Grain Drying Manual.
- Effectively-stored grain requires aeration. When it comes to winter storage, you’ll want to aerate to cool the grain to somewhere between 35 and 40˚F. When the outside day-night air temperature is 10-15˚F cooler than the grain itself, you’ll want to start an aeration cycle. This cycle can be repeated whenever the average outside air temperature drops another 10-15˚. It can take up to three cooling cycles to get the grain to be properly cooled.
- When it’s time for an aeration cycle, choose a clear, crisp day when the air and grain are close to the same temperature.
- Inspect the grain every couple weeks during the winter months. Get in the bin and look for signs of crusting or wet, sticky, or frozen grain. Additionally, look for hot spots and probe for hard spots. Running the fan will stir the air. If there’s a musty smell, you can check for mold or spoilage. If spoilage is found, move the grain. If it begins to go out of condition, run the fan right away, as long as the outside temperature isn’t more than 10˚F above the grain temperature.
- Do not cool grain below freezing. Frozen grain chunks can plug unloading systems and restrict airflow.
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.