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ISSUE 14  August 6, 1998



    Crop storage facilities need to protect the grain from moisture, wind, birds, rodents, and insects. Store the crop in a building if possible. This may be a pole barn or machinery shed, for example. Buildings may not withstand the load on the wall unless you reinforce the walls such as using cables between walls, or use temporary interior walls. Grain exerts a force on a wall of about 23 pounds per foot of grain depth. Therefore, a force of about 138 pounds is pushing out at the bottom of each foot of the wall with a six foot grain depth. To check on building strength, consult the building manufacturer.

    Make sure the area is well drained. Also, place the grain on plastic to prevent moisture moving from the ground to the crop. Cover concrete with plastic especially if the concrete is cracked.

    Cooling the crop is extremely important for proper storage. Cool temperatures minimize mold growth, limit moisture migration, and control insects. An aeration airflow rate of about 1/10 to 1/15 cubic feet per minute per bushel is recommended for dry grain.

    If you must pile the crop outside on the ground, drainage is crucial. The pile should be on high ground and the earth crowned under the pile. Place plastic on the ground to keep ground moisture from wetting the grain. This is very important unless the pile is on gravel-type soil. The ability to aerate the crop under emergency or temporary procedures will improve the chances for success. Plastic covering the pile will reduce wetting by rain and snow. Condensation under the plastic may cause severe problems unless it is controlled with aeration. Airflow must flow near the plastic to reduce the moisture migration. Run the pile north and south to allow the sun to dry off the sloping sides.

    Monitor crops stored in emergency storage weekly and remove them as soon as possible. You cannot expect good results if you use temporary storage for long-term storage.

Ken Hellevang
Ag Engineer

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