Spring Storage is Critical for High Moisture Grain

As outdoor temperatures warm up in the spring, the spoilage risk of stored grain, particularly high moisture grain increases rapidly. Condensation is often noticed in the grain bins which were aerated to below freezing temperatures during winter months. Stored grain requires regular monitoring during the spring months and high moisture grain should be dried as quickly as possible to prevent spoilage. Due to increased solar heat, headspace rises to -1° to 4°C (30° to 40°F) above ambient temperature during the day, thus grain temperature near the peak surface increase significantly. High moisture grain with increased temperature may result in spoilage if the grain condition is not monitored and corrective action is not taken immediately.

 

Start Drying Early Enough

Start grain drying as soon as ambient temperatures warm up to 4°C (40°F). OPI Blue settings will stop the fans during cooler nights if ambient drops below freezing temperature but operate the fan when drying opportunity is available during the warm days. Delaying drying to late spring or summer months will further increase the spoilage risk and spoilage may be unavoidable. In hot ambient conditions drying will simultaneously heat up the grain. Since high moisture grain stored at high temperature has very short safe storage life, the spoilage may occur before drying is finished.

 

Must Have Sufficient Airflow Rate

Air flow rate is key to the success the of in-bin natural air drying of grain. Due to narrow time window available for drying in spring/summer, there should be enough airflow delivered to the grain bin for quickly moving the drying front through the bin to the top. For example, corn with 20% moisture stored at 18°C (65°F) temperature has about 2 weeks of safe storage time. Fan(s) should be able to deliver 1.0-1.5 cfm/bu airflow rate, otherwise, high moisture grain should not be dried using in-bin drying system. Airflow rate can be improved by reducing the grain depth by unloaded top portion of grain from the bin. However, it may not be possible if there are no empty bins. If the storage bin is not properly designed for in-bin drying and there is not sufficient airflow rate, the high moisture grain should be dried in high temperature dryers to prevent grain spoilage.

 

Use of Optional Heater

In bins equipped with low temperature heaters, supplemental heat can be added in humid environment that will accelerated the drying and shorten the drying time (calendar-wise). However, in grain bins with frozen grain, additional heating of ambient air may cause condensation problem when heated air hits the cool grain zone (below freezing temperature). Grain should be warmed to about 400F using ambient air (without heater) and then heater should be used. With sufficient air flow rate heater may not be required in dry spring and summer months.

 

Gradual Grain Warming

If you intend to sell your grain towards the end of spring or early summer, you don’t have to warm the grain. Keep the grain cool (but certainly not below freezing). However, if you intend to hold the grain during summer months, gradually warm up the grain to about 10°C (50°F) towards the end of spring.

 

Monitor Your Grain

Monitor you grain temperature and moisture regularly. If the bins are equipped with OPI temperature/moisture cables, pay attention to rate of change (ROC) or temperature rise alarm which may indicate mold activity. Turn ON the aeration fan immediately to cool the grain. Avoid heating or rehydrating the grain. Proper OPI Blue settings will protect the grain from heating or rehydrating while cooling it.

If you have any questions or concerns about your stored grain or are not sure about how to deal with the hotspot or spoilage issues you might be facing, please feel free to call us at our toll free number (800-661-1055). Our advanced grain management experts will be happy to assist and provide you with the appropriate recommendations.

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