Once you’ve put in the work to ensure a successful grain harvest, it pays to go the extra mile to ensure that your grain is stored in a manner that will keep it in top condition when it comes time to sell.
Monitor Your Moisture
One of the most common issues affecting grain quality is improper moisture content prior to storage; a number which can vary depending upon the crop and how long you intend to store it. For instance, shelled corn which you intend to sell by spring should be stored with a maximum moisture content of 15.5%, whereas corn that will be stored for more than a year should have a maximum moisture content of no more than 13%. Likewise, soybeans sold by spring should be stored with a moisture content of no more than 14%, and no more than 11% if they are to be stored for more than a year.
Grain Cooling and Aeration
If your grain has been dried to the proper moisture content prior to storage, another common reason for spoilage is improper temperature management. It’s important to keep grain bin temperatures constant, as doing so will prevent moisture in the bin from migrating and accumulating in certain areas, causing spoilage. Though spoilage can occur whenever temperatures in the bin vary, it’s most common when the grain stored is warm and the outside temperature is cold. No matter what time of year, grain should be stored at a temperature that’s within 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit of the average monthly outdoor temperature.
To control temperature, aeration is utilized to move air through the grain; cooling it in the fall and warming it in the spring. Prior to winter storage, cool grain in 10-30 degree increments for best results in mitigating mold growth and insect reproduction.
To avoid insect problems in your grain bins, be sure to clean any debris from harvesting, handling and drying equipment, as well as thoroughly cleaning inside and outside the bins before adding new grain. If any areas in the bin that are causing leakage are found, make sure they are repaired before filling. You can also apply any approved insecticide to the surfaces of clean, empty bins before filling them. Finally, remember to never put new grain on top of old grain. Even if there are just a few insects in the old grain they can still infest the entire bin.
Monitoring Your Grain
To reduce the risk of mold, take multiple samples both when filling the bin and during storage, using the highest moisture content value to determine your management options. Be sure to make weekly observations of your grain bins during the fall and spring when temperatures are changing quickly, reducing your observations to once every two or three weeks once winter sets in.
When checking on your grain it’s important to be mindful of different smells, both in the grain and in the exhaust air for signs of spoilage. Also do visual checks of the underside of the grain bin roof, hatches and vents; condensation or frost that has accumulated on any of these is nearly always indicative of a moisture problem. Establishing a specific time and day of the week to make these checks can make it easier to remember, and save you money in the long run.
United Country Real Estate is the leading seller of farms, farmland, hobby farms and agricultural land for sale throughout the United States and beyond. Visit UnitedCountry.com today to find your perfect farm today.