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Maintaining Quality of Tough Grain in Storage

By John Ippolito PAg, Crops Extension Specialist, Kindersley

November 2019

Steel bins

A large portion of grain harvested in 2019 was tough or damp.  Grain in this condition runs the risk of being reduced in quality during storage if proper storage conditions are not maintained until it can be either dried or sold.

Dry grain in storage should ideally be cooled down to a temperature of zero to five Celsius for safe storage. This uniform temperature throughout the bin insures that moisture has not migrated within the bin to create higher moisture pockets that may lead to growth of storage molds and insects.

Starting with grain in a tough to damp state makes this management even more critical. The charts contained in the Prevent Spoilage fact sheet indicate the combinations of grain temperature and moisture content required for safe storage. Areas of the chart shown in green are temperature and moisture combinations that should store safely for 150 days.

Cooling can be accomplished through removing and replacing a portion of the grain when outside air temperatures have cooled off. To perform an adequate job through this method you should remove about 1/3 of the grain in the bin and then place in another bin or it can be put back into the original bin once cooled off.

Aeration or natural air grain drying systems are more likely to be used so that grain does not have to be moved. Fans can be run once outside air temperatures approach zero Celsius. Estimated fan running time can be calculated using the formula: Cooling time in hours = 15 divided by fan output in cubic feet per minute per bushel (cfm/bu). A fan capable of producing one cfm/bu would need to run for 15 hours to uniformly cool the bin. Keep in mind that many systems used in Saskatchewan are capable of these air flows in cereals and pulses but static pressures in oilseeds will be much higher. These higher static pressures will result in lower air flow and the hours that the fan must run should be increased accordingly. Regular probing should be conducted during cooling and periodically after cooling.

Keeping grain cool will be the key to maintaining quality of grain in storage until it can be either dried or delivered.

For more information, contact your local Crops Extension Specialist.

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