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Control Moisture with Natural Air Drying

Maximum recommended moisture content for wheat is 14% (wet basis) for up to 9 months storage and 13% for more than 9 months storage. Barley moisture should be 13.5% for up to 9 months storage and 12.5% for more than 9 months.

At harvest if grain is too wet, dry it with unheated (natural) air if bin is equipped with a full perforated floor and a large enough drying fan. In general, operate natural air drying fnas continuously until all the grain in the bin is dry or until average daily temperatures drop below freezing. If drying is not completed in the fall, run fans as needed to keep grain at 20 to 30°F during winter, and resume drying early in the spring.

See also: Natural Air and Low Temperature Crop Drying (EB-35).

The recommended airflow for natural-air and low-temperature wheat and barley drying. 
Moisture Content (% wet basis)Minimum Airflow (cfm/bu)
16 0.50
17 0.75
18 1.00

 

Equilibrium moisture content (% wet basis) for hard wheat exposed to air at various temperatures and humidities.
Temperature (°F)Relative Humidity (%)
20 40 60 80
40 8.5 11.7 14.6 18.0
50 8.2 11.3 14.2 17.4
60 7.9 11.0 13.7 16.9
70 7.7 10.7 13.3 16.5
80 7.5 10.4 13.0 16.0

 

 

Equilibrium moisture content (% wet basis) for barley exposed to air at various temperatures and humidities.
Temperature (°F)Relative Humidity (%)
20 40 60 80
40 6.5 9.4 12.2 15.6
50 6.4 9.3 12.1 15.4
60 6.3 9.2 11.9 15.2
70 6.2 9.1 11.8 15.0
80 6.1 9.0 11.7 14.9

 From: The Small Grains Field Guide A-290, J.J. Wiersma and J.K. Ransom, 2005; Chapter submitted by: K. Hellevang and W. Wilcke.

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