Grain Storage Red Flags

A variable weather year means managing grain after it’s in your bin could be equally challenging. ( Darrell Smith )

A variable weather year means managing grain after it’s in your bin could be equally challenging. Check grain at least every two weeks this winter to avoid compounding problems. Here are six potential issues, causes and solutions from experts at Purdue University and Iowa State University. 

1. Hard layer below grain surface
    Cause:
High moisture or spoiled and caked grain mass.
    Solution: Run aeration or drying fan. If caked or compacted mass blocks airflow, remove and resume cool and dry airflow.

2. Warm grain below surface
    Cause:
High moisture.
    Solution: Run aeration fans regardless of external weather conditions until the exhaust air temperature measures the same as the desired grain temperature.

3. Wet and spoiled spots outside the center of grain
    Cause:
Condensation drips from bolt ends or under roof fixtures that funnel water into grain.
    Solution: Check for hot spots, check roof under surface at night and check caulking around roof inlets and joints.

4. No air flow while fans are running
    Cause:
Caked or moldy grain mass blocking air or moldy grain layer above aeration duct or perforated floor on suction system.
    Solution: Find spoiled grain to determine location and scope, unload bin and market good grain.

5. Cooling takes longer than normal
    Cause
: Fines in grain reducing airflow or two to four times airflow resistance when compared to clean grain.
    Solution: Run the fans longer, until grain and exhaust temperatures show desired temperature.

6. Exhaust air temperature in center of bin surface warmer than off-center
    Cause:
Fines accumulate in the center and resist airflow, making it hotter than surrounding areas.
    Solution: Run the fan to cool the center exhaust, draw down bin center to remove fines and decrease depth for easier air flow in core.


To find seven more signs something is wrong in your grain bins, visit AgWeb.com/grain-storage-strategies

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