Farmers: check the condition of stored grain

Farmers may need to institute a system of monitoring their stored grain products. Grain from the previous season that remains in storage for the spring months could be at risk for mold, mycotoxins and insect damage, depending on the storage conditions.

Agricultural engineers from Purdue Extension say grain that was stored at moisture levels of 17-18% or above is at an extra risk.

Researchers say that there is one way to deal with the issue: in-bin drying.

“For those who couldn’t dry corn to 15% in the fall but stored at 17-18%, the warm spring temperature offers the opportunity to dry to a safe storage moisture using natural air, in-bin systems,” Dr. Klein Ileleji, associate professor and extension engineer, said in a recent article.

There is a somewhat specific formula Ileleji said farmers should use for in-bin drying: when air temperatures are between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is in the 55-75% range, an airflow rate of 1-2 cubic feet per minute per bushel should be started.

There are other tips that Ileleji gives for the process, outlined on GrainNet.com.

  • Check for signs of spoilage on the surface and at several depths
  • Run fans continually when temperatures average between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit, and when relative humidity is not above 75%
  • Do not warm the grain above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (if you intend to store it in summer months)
  • Ventilate at night to prevent condensation

Studies from Purdue University’s Post-Harvest Center for Research and Education suggest that leaving bin fans off during the spring will keep grain cool from winter aeration, slowing the growth of maize weevils.

The takeaway point: as the weather, and grain, warms: presence of insects increases, as well as the possibility of the production of mold and mycotoxins. Take necessary precautions by monitoring temperatures, testing and looking for signs of spoilage.

For more information on how to effectively monitor grain, view Ileleji’s report on checking stored grain, and/or other resources from Purdue University here.

To learn more about Neogen’s products for the detection and monitoring of mycotoxins, click here.

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