We all know why cleanliness matters, for people, houses, and pets. However, not everyone realizes just how important it is to keep the handling equipment and storage structures for grain clean. Or, as a recent Illinois Ag News article puts it, “Your grain will only be as clean as the site in which its handled and stored.” If you think about it for a moment, it makes sense, but not just because dirty grain sounds gross. Grain residue that hasn’t been cleaned up has a good chance of rotting or attracting insects, and moldy or pest-riddled grain leftover in the bottom of a bin can contaminate new grain that gets added. Fortunately, with just a little time and maintenance, spoiled grain is easily preventable thus, ensuring the highest possible quality and return on your investment.
The first step, naturally, is cleaning up after yourself, not just the actual storage bin itself either, but the various means of grain transportation like trucks, storage systems and drying, aeration, handling and transfer equipment. Grain is tiny and can get into small places, which, while annoying to clean, is a lot less annoying than the host of issues caused by rotten grain. To clean the surfaces where you will hold or transport grain, it is recommended to:
- Sweep and vacuum where old grain has been. Clear out the old grain and get rid of its dust and residue.
- Clean under the floor of the grain bin. If the floor can’t be removed, use a fumigant with aluminum phosphide (such as Weevil-cide) to clear out insects in the subfloor. (Note that aluminum phosphide, while effective, is also very toxic, and should be applied by a certified fumigator.)
Once the cleaning is done, there are some simple, preventative measures you can take to keep moisture and pests from affecting crops that will be stored in your grain bin.
- Seal up cracks or gaps in the structure. Look for areas where light or moisture appears to be leaking in.
- Areas around doors and hatches are susceptible to this, so be sure to check the seals.
- Treat the interior surfaces of the bin with a residual bin spray two to three weeks before filling.
It may seem a bit like busy work, and to most people cleaning isn’t very fun, but the headaches you’ll save yourself down the road by following these simple instructions are well worth the effort.
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.