Proper Maintenance of Grain Storage Helps Preserve Value
Autumn has officially begun and that means crops have grown and harvest is among us, which makes this the perfect time to start your fall cleaning and prepare for grain storage. Taking action beforehand helps ensure the condition of grain stored, as well as costly consequences that result from maintenance neglect.
Inspect and Clean
The goal of bin preparation is to remove grain residues where insects and mold can typically grow and infect the next crop stored in the bin. Examine any current cracks or holes to keep insects and pests out. Maintaining clean bin surroundings such as weeds and grain residue takes a minimal amount of time and keeps insects from developing, while still being cost effective.
Leave a 4-foot gravel perimeter around bins and remove long grass and shrubs, which create hiding spots for mice and insects. This forces pets to relocate. Also, make sure water is draining away from the bins. Less standing water reduces the chances of the grain getting wet and moldy while in storage.
Applying a preventative pesticide can help if your bin has a history of infestation. This can be applied to the inside walls and sprayed until there is runoff on all surfaces. Wait at least 24 hours before loading the grain. If infestations have been a nuisance in the past, you may want to consider bin fumigation by a certified applicator in order to eliminate any remaining pest.
Loading the Grain
Before loading the grain, separate any broken kernels and foreign objects in order to improve the shelf life and reduce equipment damage.
Cooling and drying grain before storage carries a long way and is something that should be considered in order to maintain value over the next few months. Drying the grain below 14% moisture and aerating the bulk temperature below 50ºF will help prevent moisture migration, mold growth and grain pest survival.
As you load the grain, you can also apply a chemical protectant. These products are registered by crop, with some, such as Diacon-D IGR, used for corn and soybeans, while others, such as Actellic 5E, are only approved for corn. Be sure to check the label.
Noticeably the costs of proper sanitation practices are small compared to the negative consequences that can occur. Producers who practice proper grain and sanitation maintenance can look forward to positive results and better crops.