Tips to Carry Your Grain Forward

It's important to manage stored grain any year-but a year with excess moisture increases the need for active management. Keep a close eye on your grain through winter months. ( Sonja Begemann )

In the last few weeks of 2019 make plans to not only finish this year’s harvest strong, but also look ahead to prepare for 2020.

“There will be issues when poor quality grain is being put into storage for a longer period than normal,” says Tom Dahl, president of the American Association of Grain Inspection and Weighing Agencies.

Your grain is cash in your hand—if you manage it properly. Avoid spoilage and quality deductions with these tips.

  • Take out the moisture fast. “We need to get grain dried down as fast as we can,” says Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension agronomist. “If you want to store corn, dry it down to 13% or 14% moisture — or about one percentage point to two percentage points lower than normal.”
  • Keep an eye out for trouble. If moisture is above 16%, you’ll need to check the grain temperature more often for hot spots and potential mold growth, according to Tom Dorn at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
    • Monitor temperatures and run aeration fans if there is greater than a 5- to 8-degree difference in grain temperature in any two spots in the bin.
    • Run stirrers to break up wet spots and even moisture in the bin as you find them.
    • If you smell mold or see condensation, aerate the bin until either issue dissipates.
  • Use the weather to your advantage. If you have wet grain in the bin, warm and dry weather can help dry the grain versus re-introduce moisture into the bin. Find equilibrium moisture to see if it will be a net gain to run aeration, Dorn says.
    • For example, if the temperature is 50 degrees F and relative humidity is 60%, the equilibrium moisture content is 14.8%, according to University of Arkansas research. So, if the grain moisture in the bin is higher than that, you can turn on fans to dry.

Corn and soybeans both are coming out of fields wetter than normal. Corn is proving to have lower test weights, too, and each crop has challenges with breakage and fines when coming out at high moisture content. Use management to offset these risks as much as possible.

Read more about 2019 harvest and storage here:

Grain Markets Mostly Higher, Corn Harvest Remains Behind

Farmer on Farm Income: "I Can't Pay Bank Back With Hopes And Prayers"

2019 Has Farmers Reconsidering Planting Date, On-Farm Propane

Late Harvest Delays Anhydrous As Unapplied Acres Stack Up