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Futures

7 Tips to Grain Storage Success

06/24/2019
7 Tips to Grain Storage Success

Stored grains are a farmer’s most valuable asset. Any damage to them and it is lost profit. Therefore, protecting them to preserve grain quality is criticaluntil they go to market. The storage bins themselves also require regular upkeep. They must be clean and free of moisture, insects, mold and fungi to bethe ideal conditions for corn and soybean storage. 

Your local FS Grain System Specialist recommends the following tips for safeguarding grains and grain storage bins throughout the seasons. 

  1. Storage Alternatives - Do you have enough capacity for your grain? Do you need to invest in additional storage? There are many considerationswhen choosing between permanent or temporary storage. Consider long-term storage needs, the costs required to construct a properly drainedsite for temporary storage structures, and the additional manpower and/or equipment required to fill, maintain and reclaim the grain from atemporary storage system. Last, but not least, take in account the total time your grain will be in storage and chose the best alternative to avoidspoilage losses. 
  2. Clean, Inspect and Exam - Prior to filling a bin with grain, thoroughly inspect the bin, inside and out. Replace all broken or missing bolts, paint orreplace rusty wall sheets, properly seal the bin to the foundation, and replace all missing lids or door covers. Once you’ve completed a top to bottom examination of the bin structure, thoroughly clean the inside of the bin. This includes removing all outstanding grains, mold, fungi and doinga thorough inspection of the floors to look for insects and fumigate as necessary. 
  3.  Preseason Service Check – Late spring planting raises the possibility of late, wet harvest. Be sure to do a complete pre-season check on yourdrying equipment. Check to ensure that all safety circuits, electrical connections and components are in place and properly functioning. Pay special attention to all pieces of equipment with solid state or computerized controls systems. Connections need to be tight and the interior of thecontrol cabinets need to be clean and free of dust and debris. FS recommends having your local FS grain systems service technician on hand totroubleshoot any problems and assess the system safely. 
  4. Storage Conditions – Grain must be kept at an optimal temperature and moisture level during storage, which requires proper management of theaeration system to prevent mold growth and insect reproduction. The time it takes to properly aerate the grain is determined by the amountof air moving through the grain. At very low airflow rates, it can take 150 and 200 hours to properly complete an aeration cycle. Run your aeration fans long enough to complete an aeration cycle, but not too long, to prevent over drying the grain. Your FS Grain Systems Specialist can helpdetermine your airflow rates and the proper length of time to run your aeration fans on each bin. 
  5.  Temperature Check – Proper aeration enables good temperature control; however, the seasons and weather still have a significant effect on thecontents inside the bin.· For grain being stored longer than 6 months, follow these recommendations; dry corn to 13% to 14% moisture content and soybeans to12% moisture content or less. Soybeans stored for more than one year should be dried to 11% moisture content.· Temperatures in the bins will vary by region and season. In the fall, cool grain down to 40 degrees or slightly less. Keep the averagegrain temperature to within 10 – 15 degrees of the average outside air temperature as temperatures cool in the fall. In the spring, mostexperts suggest trying to maintain the grain temperature between 40 and 50 degrees. In the summer, maintain the grain temperaturearound 60 degrees, higher temperatures will risk insect infestation and mold growth. 
  6.  Regular Grain Monitoring – Your grains are only as good as the condition you keep them. Plan to check them weekly throughout the summerand fall, and bi-monthly in the winter. Checks include checking the grain temperature, collecting a sample to test the moisture content, lookingfor a crust and a noticeable smell. If your bin is not equipped with a temperature cable system, use a hand help temperature probe to check thegrain’s temperature a couple feet below the top surface. 
  7.  Stay Safe – Entering a bin is one of the most dangerous jobs on the farm. It is best to heed extreme caution, turn the electrical power off to allequipment installed on the bin, lock the control panel, and keep ahold of the key, so the power can’t be accidentally turned back on while workingin the bin. Never enter the bin alone. Always have a partner who stays on the outside of the bin and maintains visual contact with the personworking inside the bin and have a rescue plan in place. 

FS Grain System Specialist Ryan Hufendick said, “We can’t emphasize enough the importance of the upkeep of your storage bins, because that affects theoutcome of the grain that goes to market. That grain is your living, so management of every single factor of the grains and the bins is imperative.” 

An FS Grain System Specialist can assist you in any part of the storage bin process, whether you have storage solution questions or needing bin maintenance. It’s critical that your grains are stored in a safe and secure environment, to provide you with the best quality product to bring to market. Contact your FS Grain Specialist for more information. 

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