Proper and systematic grain storage is necessary if you want to market your grains effectively. Grain storage is a serious concern and the problems associated with it start right from the time of harvesting and take place due to poor grain storage. If proper storage management is not carried out, a huge financial loss followed by irreparable damage to quality can occur. This blog provides you with 8 proven ideas for better grain storage management. But before that, let’s take a look at some of the primary causes behind the grain spoilage:
- Lack of appropriate grain temperature management
- No timely checks for significant changes in grain surface conditions, smells, insects, temperature, and overall grain condition
- Lack of strategic emergency plans and safety precautions
- Low-quality grain storage bins
- Improper grain temperature
- Improper insect control.
Here are some proven tips for better grain storage
Prepare well your grain bins
The very first step to better grain storage management begins with the preparation of the grain bins in a proper way. Clean your bins well and make sure no piece of grain or anything left inside that might have any kind of insects. Check the under-floor areas very minutely because these might be the ideal areas for insects going next from the last storage. Industry experts are of the view that if you had insect infestation, particularly during the end-time last season, then it is imperative to fumigate the bin in its entirety.
Dry the grain to the proper moisture content
Drying the grain to the proper moisture content is an important strategy to avoid all quality-related grain issues. For example, the ideal moisture content for the shelled corn to be stored for up to 12 months is 14%. The experts at the University of Nebraska believe that corn at a starting temperature of 75 degrees F and 19% moisture content might lose its commercial viability just within 5 days in case the aeration framework does not work properly causing heat generation. Some of the other prominent reasons behind grain quality issues include the following:
- Insufficient aeration and grain cooling
- Improper and overlooked grain checks activities
- Initially poor grain quality
- Substandard or makeshift insect control measures.
Be particular about the quality of the grain you are going to store
The overall quality of the harvested grain is one of the major determiners of how long and how well the grain is going to be stored. In case long-term storage is on your mind, then begin the storage with mature and excellent quality grain. Some of the frosted grains might be a little immature for storage. Therefore, you need to stay lower in test weight while thinking of the long-term storage of the grain.
The improved aeration is the key
Aeration is one of the most important parts of the grain storage process. For better aeration, you can either practice repetitive coring or properly distribute fines by making use of a spreader. A grain spreader can ideally be utilized on bins that are smaller than 48 ft. Having fines spread across the bins is important so that they are not at the center only. Air is something that always takes the path that has the lowest resistance. In case there are lots of fines at the center, the air will take the upside route resulting in spoilage in the center.
Control the temperature
Keeping the temperature under control during grain storage is highly critical. You need to put grain into a storage system that is equipped with an excellent aeration framework so that it can better control the grain temperature. You also need to have temperature cables in the bin so that you can monitor the grain safely and minutely. As far as the recommendations for the exact temperature are concerned, they can drastically differ from region to region.
Keep checking grain at regular intervals
For ensuring better and problem-free storage, you need to keep checking the grains at regular short intervals. During summers, the experts’ recommendations are weekly. What you need to do is that you just climb to the top, and without entering, inspect whether there is any foul or unpleasant smell or crust is there. An increment in surface moisture is among the initial signs of serious problems.
In case you observe anything wrong, then immediately start your aeration fans. If the bin is equipped with a perfectly-sized aeration fan, it will create sufficient airflow while acting as a dryer for the small layer of moisture on the bin’s top. During your inspection session, collect a sample to conclude and determine the level of moisture content of the grain.
Watch for insects
Insects are the most well-known destroyer of grains of all types. Their development must be checked without fail if you want to avoid hassles with your grain. You need to be watchful for insects frequently during the summer months. During warmer days, you might observe anything from one or two insects to a heap of them just within a period of 2 or 3 weeks. Therefore, if you are not checking every week, you will not be able to take any corrective measures to save your grain from insects.
Never mix your new grain with old
In your efforts to protect your grain from different hassles and problems, never mix your old grain with the new one. Mixing newly harvested grain with the currently existing grain will make room for spoilage. To store your newly harvested grains, just thoroughly clean your bin and store the grain exclusively.
Proper grain management is both an art and science in which not everybody can be considered a master at all. If you think things are going beyond your control, then seeking some professional grain management support is a great idea. Grain Technik is a leading chiller machine manufacturer in India specializing in the field of refrigeration technology. The company is serving grain milling and storage companies with high-quality grain chilling machines. The company makes sure its products not only perform more efficiently in operations but also keep running costs to a minimum.