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Get stored grain up to 50°F. now . . . and check bins weekly

Last season is taking a toll on this year’s stored corn.

“Because of last year’s challenging growing season and harvest, grain now in storage has a shorter storage life and is more susceptible to grain condition issues,” warns Gary Woodruff of GSI.

Woodruff offers the following recommendations to avoid developing out-of-condition grain in bins:

  • This spring, raise the temperature of stored grain to match the outside temperature in 15°F. increments until the grain is up to 50°F. After that, hold that temperature level into the summer for as long as possible. Large differences in temperature (between the grain and outside temperatures) can cause condensation to collect on cold grain leading to serious quality issues. 
  • Cool grain with aeration to avoid insect issues, which will begin when temperatures rise above 50°F. and become serious when they’re around 75°F., Woodruff emphasizes.

READ MORE: How cold weather impacts early-planted corn

  • Check grain weekly throughout the summer. This can be done by climbing to the top of bins (don’t enter bins, however). Look to see if there is a crust forming on the grain and smell to detect molding odors. An increase in surface moisture on the grain usually is the first sign of problems. “Remember that an automated aeration controller does not replace regular weekly or biweekly physical checks,” Woodruff cautions.
  • If you spot a problem, immediately start aeration fans to attempt to stop the issue as soon as possible. Aeration may work in shorter bins under 48 feet in diameter. However, it is not possible to get enough air through grain in larger bins to correct problems.
  • The only real fix for out-of-condition issues not stopped by aeration is to unload the bin down to where the affected grain is out of the bin, Woodruff explains. “This likely means the grain will have to be marketed early, and poor grain quality may be docked at the elevator,” he adds. “Prevention is always the best answer, with proper management beginning at harvest,” Woodruff adds.

Remember to always follow safe practices around grain bins. This includes entering the bin as little as possible and taking precautions using proper equipment with others to help, as well as using proper respiratory protection against mold and dust.  

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