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Harvest 2017: Here’s what you need to know about storing grain properly.

Tom J Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

June 22, 2017

3 Min Read
AERATION HELPER: You can do what an aeration controller can do, but the machine is better at it, experts say. Think of it as autosteer for a bin. It turns fans on and off more efficiently, even if you think you do it well.

Suppose you don’t have aeration controllers on your bins. Is this the year you should invest in them?

Gary Woodruff, GSI conditioning applications manager, says aeration controllers do what you can do manually, only they do it better. He says whether you intend to have aeration controllers or you already have them, you ought to understand grain storage management before fall arrives and you bin corn. Woodruff answers some pertinent questions about this topic.

What are the keys to safely storing grain? Store at the right moisture: 15% for delivery next spring, 14% for up to next fall and 13% for more than one year. Moisture is critical to safe storage. Get grain down below 50 degrees F as fast as you can. You can go even colder, down to 30 degrees, which will kill most all insects in the bin. You should not go below 20 degrees.

How does proper aeration fit into the picture? You can leave the corn cold until you ship, if you’ll ship before warm spring temperatures begin. If not, grain should be kept within 10 degrees of the ambient average.

Bring the grain temperature up periodically through the spring warm-up period, and then hold it in the 50-to-60-degree range to prevent condensation and to extend storage life of the grain. 

Check grain regularly and run aeration periodically during cool periods, keeping grain in the 50-to-60-degree range, if possible.

Why do you say an aeration controller can do what you can do manually, only better? An aeration controller can bring the temperature of the grain down much quicker than you can manually. Since they only run in narrow ranges of humidity, the fan turns on and off regularly without the potential condensation issues that can happen when running manually with no control of humidity.

Aeration controllers constantly monitor and operate the fans when they should run, minimizing your time monitoring and maximizing the grain’s storage life. Just don’t forget to regularly check the grain, as even a controller isn’t perfect.

When can an aeration controller be an asset? If you follow recommendations carefully, particularly storage moisture and grain temperature, you’ll probably never lose grain. But if you can’t carefully manage your grain, an aeration controller will be an asset to your system.

Do aeration controllers have other applications? Yes. Slow rehydration of overdried grain is one. This is usually soybeans. Leave room for expansion. Bring moisture up a few tenths at a time. Follow the controller’s instructions carefully.

How does technology make aeration controllers more useful? Aeration controllers have standard or optional web-based monitoring that lets you know what’s going on in the bin. They also often can send phone, email or text alerts about problems, allowing you to follow up. They’ll also archive storage information that can help in long-term planning and learning how to store grain. This will become more important as USDA implements rules and regulations concerning the following and tracing of how grain is harvested, dried and stored from field to the final usage point.

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of articles about preparing for harvest.


About the Author(s)

Tom J Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

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