By: John Ippolito, PAg, Crops Extension Specialist, Kindersley
The use of natural air grain drying and aeration are common practices on agricultural operations in western Canada. As new grain storage is being constructed, the bin sizes are also increasing substantially. Even though these practices are common, there are always questions and concerns regarding the management of grain in storage and what the appropriate conditions for storage and natural air grain drying are.
We've worked closely with the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) to create two fact sheets: – comprehensive natural air grain drying and large grain bin storage. The natural air grain drying fact sheet is a quick reference document for producers and covers a number of related topics. This includes the most recent charts on safe storage times for common crops as determined by grain moisture content and temperature.
Appropriate airflow is a critical part of natural air drying. The fact sheet will assist producers in estimating the airflow of current installations as well as criteria for selecting a fan to achieve the desired airflow. Determining if current conditions have the capacity to dry grain with natural air is one of the most common concerns during the harvest period. Equilibrium moisture content charts will assist producers in determining if conditions are appropriate for running fans for natural air drying.
Large grain bins present a number of challenges with aeration and natural air grain drying. It may be possible to create airflows sufficient for aeration that will result in cooling. Creating appropriate airflows for natural air drying is a challenge. The large grain bin storage fact sheet is a supplement to the natural air grain drying factsheet and covers the challenges presented by using larger grain bins and solutions that can be implemented.
These fact sheets are available on the natural grain drying page. If you have questions, contact your local crops extension specialist or contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre general inquiry line at 1-866-457-2377.