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Alternative Grain Storage Methods

If you’re out of room in the grain bins, there are other options for storing the crop. Poly bags, farmstead buildings, or even on the ground might work as long as the grain is kept dry and there’s enough aeration.

Ken Hellevang is an extension agricultural engineer at North Dakota State University. He says poly bags can handle higher-moisture grain for a short period of time.

"If we’re thinking of it as a short- term cold winter storage environment, then we can probably get by with a higher moisture content," says Hellevang. "But then if we go in with wet grain, we know that it has to come out before the end of winter. So, we might be storing from sometime in November to sometime in February."

Grain is often stored short-term in outdoor piles. Hellevang doesn’t recommend this without being covered because just one inch of rainfall evenly distributed across a pile could potentially rewet the top 12" of grain to near 9% moisture. For example, from 15%-24%.

If you’re looking for something with a roof, there might be space in other buildings on the farm. Just make sure the walls can handle the force.

"If we do some type of grain wall that’s been designed for holding grain, put aeration ducts on the floor so we can move air through the pile, then the building will work very well," he says. "But, the number one thing is to make sure that we look at what the stresses are that that building can hold."