MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Wintertime should create few problems with grain storage if the grain has been properly cooled, according to Kansas State University grain and livestock systems specialist Joe Harner.

"Grain should have already been cooled to temperatures ranging from 30 to 40 degrees (F)," said Harner, who is the biological and agricultural engineering state leader with K-State Research and Extension. "Cooling grain below 30 degrees is not necessary and may create problems - particularly if the grain is cooled below 20 degrees."

Moisture will condense on the outside of grain kernels if extremely cold grain is loaded onto a truck during warm weather. In turn, the excess moisture can cause an erroneous moisture meter reading and result in excessive-moisture price discounts for the grain, he said.

"Early morning during winter is a good time to observe the roof tops of grain storage structures for potential problems," Harner said. "If frost or snow is melting more quickly off of one structure than others, that may be an indication of grain that's going out of condition or warming up."

Covering fans can prevent moisture movement and air currents in a grain bin during the winter months, he said. Moisture vapor that's leaving the top of a bin is an example of natural air currents warming through a grain mass.

Harner urges those who are inspecting stored grain to be cautious during the winter months:

"Heavy cold-weather clothing, gloves and boots may make it more difficult to grip or maneuver up and down metal ladders. Rooftops may be slick from ice or moisture, which also can create safety problems."

Still, the most important factor in maintaining the quality of grain in storage during the winter is to not forget it -- to inspect routinely, he said.

SOURCE: K State news release.