NDSU Extension - Burke County


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Grain Storage Moisture

Grain Storage Moisture

County Agent News
Dan Folske
August 14, 2017 

Grain Storage Moisture

            Don’t rush your harvest! The cooler weather and scattered showers this past week is delaying harvest a little but you don’t want to get in too big a rush when the weather is nice. Many of the grain samples I’ve seen the past week are too wet/green for long term storage, even with aeration. Remember aeration is a tool, not a cure all for wet grain. High temperatures help dry the grain but Spring Wheatalso reduce the time it can be safely stored. For example, 17% moisture spring wheat can be stored for about four months if the grain temperature is only 50F but at 80F you are likely to have problems in under three weeks. 20% moisture grain at 80F can go bad in one week.

            Aeration systems can help cool and dry the grain but if we have an early winter they may not have dried the grain enough before outside temperatures drop too much for effective natural air drying. This is especially true in large bins or bins with inadequate fan size. Higher moisture content and deeper grain depth increase the resistance to air movement. With high crop yields it s hard to resist filling grain bins full but if you are harvesting excessively wet grain consider not filling bins to the peak.

            As we get later in the year for harvest you can harvest at higher moistures for storage with aeration because cooler grain will have longer storage times and colder weather will cool the grain in the bin faster even if drying is slower. Once the grain has cooled to 25F fans can be shut off and drying resumed in the spring. Fans should be run every couple of weeks throughout the winter to keep grain temperatures uniform throughout the grain mass. Uneven grain temperatures can lead to moisture migration and areas with the bin becoming wetter and spoiling quickly when temperature start to rise in the spring.


More information can be found in Extension Bulletin EB-35 Natural Air/Low Temperature Crop Drying.



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