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45657

Check Stored Grain Frequently

“We’ve had low carryovers of grain for the past 10 years or so,” says Gary Woodruff, GSI. “And we haven’t been storing grain through the summer. Now we have a different set of conditions, and we will be storing grain longer. We have to go back to the basic rules.”

The number one rule for grain storage is drying grain to the right moisture content. “Corn should be dried to 15% to store through May, 14% to store through fall, and 13% if you want to store it for a year,” advises Woodruff.

The recommended long-term grain storage moisture contents for other grains are: 11% for soybeans, 13.5% for wheat, 12% for barley, and 13% for grain sorghum. Check your stored grain to make sure the moisture content is dry enough for storage through summer.

Also, check the grain temperature at several locations near the top surface, along the walls, and several feet into the grain. Temperature sensors are a great way to monitor stored grain, but remember that they only measure the temperature of the grain next to the sensor. Grain is a good insulator, so the grain temperature can be quite different just a few feet from the sensor.

Record the measured temperatures. A spike in temperature can be an indicator of an insect infestation or mold growth.

Mold growth and insect infestations can occur rapidly in summer temperatures, so check grain frequently. An insect infestation can go from a few insects to a major issue in less than a month. Insect traps or placing grain samples on white material can help you identify insects.

According to Ken Hellevang, North Dakota State extension ag engineer, grain should be checked every two weeks. Woodruff recommends once a week, especially if corn wasn’t dried down to 14% at harvest.

“If farmers didn’t dry grain to 14% last fall, sometime between now and this fall they are going to start having issues,” warns Woodruff. “If farmers have grain stored at 15%, they better be watching it like a hawk.

“Once farmers start to have an issue, they will have to market that grain,” he adds. “Aeration in a bin bigger than 30-feet in diameter will never stop an out-of-condition problem. Aeration may minimize the issue, but it will not save you.”

Keeping grain from going bad isn’t just about avoiding getting docked at the elevator. It’s also a matter of safety.

“We know bin entrapments are almost 100% tied to grain that is out of condition,” says Woodruff. Keep grain in condition and avoid entering bins whenever possible to keep yourself, your family, and your workers safe this summer.

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