FS Construction Services managing soybeans grain systems

Drying, Storing and Managing Soybeans

The process of drying soybeans has evolved significantly over the years. While the fundamental principal is largely the same (store large batches of grain until it dries), the specifics of how it’s done, and the degrees to which it has been fine-tuned, have changed quite a bit. All drying methods that work for corn can be adapted to soybeans, though the differences between the two are important to bear in mind. So in the interest of helping out, we’re going to go over some helpful hints on drying and managing soybeans. You can find more information on any of these tips in our Grain Drying Manual.

  1. Soybeans are more fragile than corn and can be damaged by air that is too hot or too dry. Too much heat can cause seed cracking and splits. High drying temperatures can cause 100% splits in as short as five minutes. To prevent coat cracking, the drying air should be kept above 40% relative humidity. In commercial drying, when splits are less of a concern, soybeans can be dried with a maximum temperature of 130-140°
  2. In-bin drying systems designed for corn can work for soybeans too. However, in-bin continuous-flow systems and stirring devices can damage them as moisture drops to 12% or below. Grain spreaders will work for commercial soybeans, but not for seed beans. When not using a spreader, several loads can be removed from the bin’s center during filling to keep grain level and help remove the fines.
  3. To keep in-bin moisture as even as possible, it’s best to use shallow batch depths of 2-3’ when drying.
  4. Run soybeans through a grain cleaner to help remove weed seeds and fines. Too many of either will increase airflow resistance and promote mold and pest growth.
  5. Soybeans have a high oil content, which means they spoil more easily than corn. It’s recommended to keep moisture at 13% for winter storage.
  6. A good aeration system is necessary for safe storage. Ideally, it will be a system with a full floor. Whenever the grain temperature is 10°F above the outside air temperature, the grain can be cooled until the bin temperature is 35-40°

Obviously, there is a lot more that can go into safely drying and storing soybeans, but hopefully these tips will prove useful. 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.

FS Construction Services grain storage systems

Project Profile: Grain Bins Prepare Client for Future

At FS Construction Services we understand that each new project is different from the one before. Some projects require more problem solving, some require an extra level of finesse, and some just require a whole lot of space and a whole lot of size.

This was the case early last year when Grain Systems Specialist Nathan Koester led his team on a pretty massive undertaking. The job was to build not one, but two, 12-ring tall, 48’ Sukup grain bins, each with a 73,700 bushel capacity. These bins were built to share a staircase and are connected at the top for easy and safe roof access. In addition, each bin was outfitted with three, 15hp centrifugal fans as well as a 10” unloading Sweepway Power Sweep.

This wasn’t the end of the project though, because our client knows that at some point, they will want to keep growing their operation. In preparation for this, we helped the client start the site of this future expansion, including making a space for more electrical work, and helping them prep for 150,000 more bushel capacity and an eventual dryer with a receiving pit.

When all was said and done, our client gained two huge, fully-loaded grain bins. But they also got more than that. As these new structures help them continue the success they’ve already experienced, they have also gained the ability to keep expanding and keep growing in the near future.

If you are interested in any new grain systems, contact the professionals at Gateway FS Construction Services now. You can depend on us to provide the best products and services at the best possible price. For more information on your next grain storage, grain handling, or grain drying system, contact us at 866-551-3454. We look forward to providing you with the best customer service experience.

FS Contruction Services tips for grain storage

Four Tips for Storing Grain in the Winter

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.

  1. 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.
  2. When it’s time for an aeration cycle, choose a clear, crisp day when the air and grain are close to the same temperature.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Gateway FS Construction Services grain drying systems

Project Profile: The Benefits of Planning Ahead

Here at FS Construction Services we work hard to keep up on the newest trends and changes in technology and hardware in grain dryers. And as important as it is to stay current, it’s also true that when you’ve been around as long as we have, and seen as many types of projects as we’ve seen, you learn a thing or two. And sometimes what you learn is that just a little bit of forward thinking can go a really long way.

Two years ago we built a 20,000 bushel grain bin for a client, but planning ahead, we built it knowing the client would likely want to add a drying system sometime in the near future. That near future became the present this past summer when we were called in for the job. When our client was ready, we added a 12’ continuous flow Sukup grain dryer and a wet tank to be used for storage once drying is complete. In addition to building the actual structures, we completed all the necessary millwrighting needed to ensure grain can be transferred to and from the dryer.

Justen Kempfer, our grain systems specialist, was on site to oversee the construction and make sure each system was set up exactly as it should be. In addition to construction oversight, our team also provided training for our client to guarantee they could jump right in to the brand new system without any hiccups or difficulties.

If you are interested in any new grain systems, contact the professionals at Gateway FS Construction Services now. You can depend on us to provide the best products and services at the best possible price. For more information on your next grain storage, grain handling, or grain drying system, contact us at 866-551-3454. We look forward to providing you with the best customer service experience.

Grain Storage Tips FS Construction Services

5 Tips for Keeping Stored Grain in Top Shape

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Keep grain above freezing. Frozen kernels not only plug systems and restrict airflow, but thawing frozen grain will result in condensation and unwanted moisture.
  5. 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.

FS Construction Services grain bin vent maintenance

Dryer Bin Vent Maintenance Will Save You Money

It is a universal truth that a little bit of maintenance goes a long way toward saving yourself future costs and headaches. And while winter is already here, it’s not too late to perform a little grain dryer bin vent maintenance. Do this work now, and your future self will owe you a huge debt of gratitude come spring.

What follows are a series of maintenance tips, particularly dryer bin vent safety tips, that will prevent trouble down the road.

  1. Make sure roof vents are clear of dust and debris, so that when they open, they are able to release the moisture necessary to effectively dry grain. Clogged vents can cause pressure to build from the fans working harder to pump air through the system. While grain bins are designed to withstand significant exterior pressure, interior pressure can cause buckling, holes, and puckering of the roof. The repair process is labor and time intensive, and can involve emptying the entire bin.
  2. Perform regular visual inspections to make sure the structure appears clean and clear.
  3. Keep the entire roof, not just the grain bin vents, free of debris and dirt.
  4. Make sure you have enough grain bin roof vents in place. The general rule of thumb to follow is one square foot of roof vent for every horsepower of motor/fan (i.e. a 7 HP fan will require 7 sq. ft. of venting).

The regular upkeep and maintenance of your grain storage system will ensure it provides well-stored, dried, and quality grain year after year. 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.

FS Construction Services fall maintenance

Preventing Winter Emergencies with Fall Maintenance

With the days already getting shorter and (occasionally) cooler, as sudden as ever, summer is has ended and fall has begun. And while there’s always the hope of a couple of calm, temperate autumn months, winter usually shows up sooner than anyone wants. It’s all too easy to overestimate the amount of time you have left until the real cold starts and all too common to leave winter-preparation maintenance tasks undone once it does.

It really doesn’t take long to come up with around-the-house work to do before winter:

  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Seal gaps and cracks in windows and doors
  • Repair damaged or corroded roof shingles and flashing
  • Drain outdoor faucets, hoses, and irrigation systems
  • Inspect heating systems and furnaces, cleaning and replacing filters when necessary
  • Have all gas equipment inspected
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

And of course, this list could go on and on. The truth is that any of the aforementioned residential maintenance projects also apply to agricultural and commercial properties as well, albeit usually with a lot more time and effort involved. Grain bins, seed systems, storage sheds, post-frame buildings, and more, all need the same kind of attention and work to ensure they not only last the winter months, but are ready for use come spring as well. We all know winter is hard on buildings, and even small things like trapped water or gaps along windows can wreak havoc if not tended to.

If you are in need of some help getting your grain storage or transfer equipment, buildings, seed systems, or more ready for the months to come, 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.

Preventative Maintenance recommendations Gateway FS Construction Services

The Importance of Pre-Harvest Maintenance Recommendations

Somehow, this year has flown by and it’s already September, which means it’s time to make sure that all of your grain drying and handling equipment is ready for the harvest. We’ve been around long enough at FS Construction Services to know how tempting it is to avoid the upfront cost or hassle of pre-harvest maintenance, but we also know how much time, money, and inconvenience it can save you down the road. A little money to prevent a problem in September is significantly better than having to fix a broken piece of equipment in the middle of harvest.

You may already know if your system or equipment is experiencing difficulty or is in need of maintenance. If you’re not sure, however, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions. Is your grain drying unevenly? Did you experience any mold or spoilage after last year’s harvest? Have your structures been subject to severe weather or wear? Have you had high-moisture crops or been running out of room to store your grain? If so, it may be time for some preseason maintenance.

If your systems are in need of repair or you just want to head into harvest with confidence, our Grain Systems Specialists will be more than happy to help. Our service technicians are highly trained and experienced, so whether it’s catching problems before they begin or diagnosing current issues, they will work to ensure your grain systems are ready to run strong through the entire season.

If you are in the market for new or upgraded grain storage, grain drying, grain handling equipment or agricultural structures, 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.

Pest management Gateway FS Construction Services

The Importance of Early Pest Management

At FS Construction Services, we know there are a lot of things that can go wrong during the process of grain storage. And while this may sound like a pessimistic way to begin, most issues that arise during the process of grain storage are preventable and treatable. This is perhaps no truer than when it comes to pest management.

Beetles, lesser grain borer, weevils, and moths are some of the most common pests that growers face and, left unattended, they can transform huge batches of grain into unusable waste. Insects are most attracted to high temperatures and high levels of humidity, which means that one of the most effective ways to combat pests is to make sure you have a well-aerated storage bin.

But it doesn’t take much for insects to come in, grow, and spread. In the world of insect control there are two options: protectant and curative. Like most things, the quicker you act, the better. Fewer insects are easier to manage and the less time they have to establish themselves the better. One of the main means of protecting grain is done by applying an insecticide after the grain is dried, since the heat of a commercial dryer will significantly reduce the insecticide’s power, and immediately before it enters storage.

After the grain has been loaded into storage, a top dressing, or surface treatment, of the grain can further be applied which will act as an additional protective barrier and help reduce insects that would come in through cracks, gaps, and other means. Well-established insect colonies will require additional, more powerful means to kill off.

In a perfect world, no one would ever have to use pesticides. Insects would simply not be interested in eating grain. But since this is not the case, it’s far better to stop as much of the problem that can be stopped as soon as possible. Quick action when it comes to pests means a healthier, more abundant product that has experienced the least amount of interference possible.

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.

Gateway FS Construction Services grain drying systems

Why Grain Aeration Matters

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.