Storing Grain At Harvest Time
August 31st 2011
By Dave Cubbon, P Ag
As I am writing this article, it looks like it is going to be a warm
week next week. Warm weather has implications with grain storage that must be
considered. If warm grain is stored it can sweat and it will cause storage
problems. Here are some things to look at that will help eliminate storage
problems with the grain that is harvested this fall.
The first thing that
must be looked at is the size and type of the bin that the grain is being stored
in. Wooden bins are less risky to store hot grain in than steel bins. There
are not a lot of wooden bins out there any more so this is not a choice for most
growers. The size of the steel bin is the most likely thing that a producer can
make a decision on when reducing risk for grain storage. Smaller bins generally
are less risky to put warm grain in. Large bins greater than 5000 bushels
should have temperature monitoring equipment. This will allow for the
monitoring of the rate of cooling that goes on in the bin through the fall. Any
bin with aeration can take care of a warm grain sample but aeration is
especially important for the bigger bins. Blowing air through the grain on a
cool day will bring down the temperature and avoid the heating of the grain in
the winter season or in hot spots in the bin.
A producer must look at the
sample that is going into the bin. The first thing that needs to be determined
is the actual temperature of the grain. When grain is combined, it is generally
5 degrees warmer that the outside air temperature. This means that a grain
sampled at 25 degrees Celsius will likely go into the bin at 30 degrees. Grain
at different temperatures will be put in a bin so be aware when there might be
hot spots. When daytime temperatures vary significantly, aeration is an
excellent tool to help reduce hot spots from developing in the stored grain.
Green kernels can cause hot spots in bins. The moisture level of a sample
can be safe but if there are green kernels in the sample, that moisture can move
and cause heating in a specific area of the bin. This can cause hot spots in
the bin and will lead to heated grain if left alone. The grain must be examined
when it is going in the bin. If green kernels are present, there must be action
taken shortly after the grain is binned.
With any warm grain that is binned
there are things that should be done to avoid spoilage. The easiest way to
eliminate a problem with warm grain that is going into a bin is to sell it.
This is not always possible so other action should be taken. Warm grain in a
bin should be monitored. Steel rods in the grain can be checked for heating.
Part of the bin can be taken out and moved into another bin. These actions will
reduce the potential for spoilage.
The grain that we harvest does not make
money until it hits the marketplace and a producer is paid for it. Make sure
that there are no surprises with spoilt grain. Take appropriate precautions if
there is this potential problem on your farm.