From the July/Aug. GRAIN JOURNAL

Kevin Miles | President | Rolfes@Boone | Boone, IA

• Once you start a cooling front, don’t stop it. Keep your front moving until the cooling process is over. Don’t keep turning your fans on and off. We’re dealing with average daily ambient temperature, not the highs and lows of the day. You need to know what air deliveries your tank has, so you know how long it will take to run a front through your grain mass.

• Once the grain is cooled to 35 to 40 degrees F, you’re done. Don’t freeze your grain through the winter.

• A positive air system is the best. Power roof exhausters are very important. Free air vents also are needed, but they do not take the place of power roof exhausters. You want a sweeping action on the roof deck to keep it dry and fresh.

• Make sure your perforated ducts are clean and your transitions and manifold duct have no holes. Air takes the least amount of resistance, and even a small hole will change your distribution.

• Check your temperature cables to see what the temperatures are and when the front has been completed.

Todd Morey | Technical Sales | AIRLANCO | Falls City, NE

• Cool grain quickly but in increments. The quicker the grain is cooled, the better it is for long-term storage.

• Monitor the grain, use the temperature monitoring system, and visually check the grain by looking in the manholes to make sure condensation and grain spoilage are not happening.

• Cleanliness is important. Make sure the aeration duct and tunnels are clean and the site is clean. This will help keep the aeration system in good operating condition, and keeping the site clean will help with rodents and insects.

• Make sure the grain in storage is cored properly. This will promote c better airflow through the grain mass.

• On an updraft (positive) system, make sure the exhausters are sized and working properly. This will prevent “raining” inside the bin.

Steve Waechter | Inside Sales |Sukup Mfg. Co. | Sheffield, IA

• Undersized or worn-out drying systems and equipment should be upgraded or replaced well before harvest season. Equipment maintenance and pre-season servicing reduces untimely breakdowns during the harvest process.

• Properly adjust and operate combine harvester to reduce fines and foreign material in the grain. This includes harvesting at a sensible speed.

• Cleaning the grain before running it through the drying system is a good idea as well.

• Know the allowable storage time of grain based on existing ambient conditions.

• Cooler drying temperatures produce higher quality grain.

• Cool the grain to the lowest possible temperature available short of freezing it. In the spring, gradually warm the grain in 15- to 20-degree increments to about 50 degrees F.

Scott Chant | President | Safe-Grain / Maxi-Tronic | Loveland, OH

• Good sanitation in your grain storage system will always pay for itself.

• Store your grain as uniformly as possible in terms of quality, temperature, and moisture.

• Try to run aeration fans when the outside ambient temperature is within 15 degrees F of the grain temperature.

• If you start an aeration front, be sure to finish it.

• Make monitoring your stored grain quality a passion.

• Roof exhaust fans used correctly can be your best friend in preventing condensation inside a grain storage structure.

John Tuttle | Director of Sales United States and Canada | Brock Grain Systems | Des Moines, IA

• Strive to minimize the fines produced from harvesting, drying, and handling. Utilizing grain spreaders for smaller bins and a coring procedure for larger bins can help manage c fines concentration.

• Proper control of grain temperature while in storage will minimize or eliminate moisture migration, which can lead to spoilage. Aerate grain as needed to maintain the grain mass temperature to within 10 to 15 degrees of outside temperatures.

• Check dry grain in storage every week when average ambient temperatures are on the move. Keep an eye out for grain that is crusted or wet or evidence of frost or moisture on the underside of bin roof panels, as this may be an indication of moisture migration that should be addressed with aeration immediately.

• Consider the use of temperature monitoring cables or other technology to track grain in storage. Early detection is crucial to properly managing problem areas.

• Aerate to cool grain to 35 to 40 degrees F for winter storage throughout most of the Corn Belt. Northern regions may need to cool to below 35 degrees due to colder ambient temperatures.

Paul Oberbrockling | Management of Grain Temperature | Chief Agri | Kearney, NE

• The leading cause of post-harvest spoilage is the mismanagement of the grain temperature. Maintaining proper control of temperatures will prevent moisture from moving throughout the bin and accumulating in the cooler grain.

• Grain is a living organism that has a natural respiration process. The respiration process produces both moisture and heat. Mold spores in the grain become more active the warmer the temperature; as a result, it is important the grain temperature be controlled.

• After harvest, outside temperatures drop, causing steel bin structures to cool. While the grain in the center of the bin remains about the same temperature as when the bin was filled, the grain closer to the outer edge will begin to cool considerably and cause convective currents in the grain mass.

• As the grain cooling process begins on the outer edge of the bin, the air becomes heavier and moves to the bottom. The air then will migrate to the center of the bin and become warmer and lighter, forcing the air to move c up through the middle section of warm grain. The naturally circulating airflow accumulates moisture in the warmer/core areas, and condensation of water in the cooler areas can potentially cause spoilage.

• Grain is typically cooled at an approximate temperature of 35 degrees F. Cooling of the grain below 32 degrees should be avoided to prevent the potential development of a frozen mass of grain in the spring. Warm, moist air introduced to the grain below 32 degrees in the spring can result in condensation, then freezing to a solid on the surface of the kernel itself.

• The grain should be cooled gradually. Ideally, the grain temperature should be within approximately 10 degrees of the average outside temperature until the grain temperature reaches the 35-degree target.

• The stored grain should be monitored to make sure problems with rising temperatures do not occur. For bins with temperature cables, check the grain temperature in the bins every week in the initial fall cooling and at least every two weeks through the winter. For bins without temperature cables, check the top surface of the grain mass every couple of weeks in the winter for crusting. With the aeration fans operating, check for odor in the air exhausting from the grain.

Brent Bloemendaal | Engineering Manager-Grain Conditioning | Sioux Steel | Sioux Falls, SD

• Have a conditioning plan before putting the grain in the bin, so that you know the starting moisture level you need to obtain the desired shelf life. Base the plan off the longest time you intend to store the grain. If you consider the average storage temperature month by month, you can use shelf life charts to determine the percentage of shelf life remaining. This is most important when you intend to store the grain for a long time or have a warmer climate.

• Keep grain at the lowest temperature possible above freezing (keeping the grain within 15 degrees of average ambient temperature). Monitor the grain temperature with cables or sense the air temperature off the grain.

• The equilibrium moisture of the air going into the bin can be low during the spring warmup. If the time fans c have run too long, the grain will be dried too much. This can be tedious if you don’t have a controller that monitors the equilibrium moisture.

• Visually inspect and adjust spreaders to be certain that fines distribution and grain level are correct when the grain is entering the bin. Well-adjusted grain spreaders and proper coring will insure air movement is uniform.

• Service all related equipment early in the year to reduce the chance of harvest-time breakdown.

Dustin Paloranta | Vice President |Extron | Plymouth, MN

• Proper conditioning of grain starts with the use of a high-volume, commercial-grade grain spreader that can spread out fines in corn and bury the pods in soybeans. Using a high-quality spreader allows you level off the grain mass in your bin. Being off even as little as a couple of rings or more, from side to side, will affect airflow through your grain.

• By leveling your bin, you eliminate the need for center coring and achieve a uniform cooling front through the grain with less fan runtime.

• Using a temperature monitoring system with fan automation to monitor and control headspace temperatures is important, because condensation will begin to form once there is a 20-degree difference between headspace and the grain.

• Keep grain cooled to around 35 degrees F, and avoid freezing the grain. If grain freezes, the outer layer could crack kernels, allowing moisture migration inside which leads to spoilage.

Gil Garcia | East Regional Sales Manager | AGI CMC | Greenfield, IN

• Poor weather conditions as well as late and uneven crop maturity have the potential to create havoc for your grain drying system.

• Hot corn dropping from the dryer can cause condensation problems inside the cooling storage bins. In addition to condensation, wet fines, debris, and foreign matter in the center of the bin can cause uneven airflow between the center and sidewalls of the bin.

• Grain spoilage is potentially greater with high-moisture foreign matter at the center and a reduced airflow.

• The role of managing stored grain is to preserve quality and value, and this can be achieved with information provided by a grain temperature cable system.

• Poor grain management practices will lead to substandard grain quality, insects, fungi, and reduced grain trade and market price.

• A digital in-grain temperature monitoring system will quickly and accurately notify the user before temperatures exceed storable limits, minimizing shrink and spoilage.

• High-moisture grain can lead to molds, mycotoxins, sprouting, insects, mites, and heat. By reducing the grain temperature to sub-50 degrees F by the end of November, this will provide a safe storage temperature.

• Have peace of mind and confi- dence with a digital grain cable system knowing the actual grain conditions during the storage cycle. c

Gary Woodruff | District Manager | GSI | Assumption, IL

• A common misperception is that grain can be held above 15% moisture without risking quality or loss of net income. To store corn post-harvest through the following spring safely, moisture content should not exceed 15%. To store safely through fall, it should be no higher than 14%, and to store for one year or longer, it must be held at 13%.

• Pull a cone 10 feet wide at the top every 10 feet of depth, as the bin is filled, to reduce fines.

• Run the aeration fans for five to 10 days to equalize kernel moisture.

• Soon after harvest, pull the bins with peaked grain down, so the center is just below the corn at the wall. The grain will look somewhat like an “M” from the side, promoting air movement in the center. Leveling at this point is also a good practice.

• Watch the ambient temperature, and use aeration fans to get the grain temperature below 50 degrees F as soon as possible. Nearly all insect and mold activity ceases below this temperature.

• You may leave the grain cold only if it will be delivered before June. But make sure you seal the fan entrance(s) and discharge opening to keep out humid air.

• If not leaving the grain cold or you are storing into June or after, maintain grain temperatures within 10 to 15 degrees of the outside air to avoid grain deterioration caused by condensation developing on grain bin interiors. Always consult your local agriculture university for recommendations, as conditions vary widely.

Randy Coffee | Vice President of Sales and Marketing |Superior Grain Equipment | Kindred, ND

• Have a proper system in place to actively monitor all grain temperatures in the bin. Various monitoring options are available, including manual, automated, and wireless systems that can pinpoint hot spots and help to eliminate moisture migration within the bin.

• Appropriate implementation of ventilation components: It’s critical that the fans, roof vents, and roof exhaust systems are matched to work together in conjunction with the size of the storage bin and the type of commodity being stored.

• Know your equilibrium moisture content (EMC). Understanding EMC and how outside temperature and humidity affect in-bin drying will help you manage moisture points correctly with your system. There are many online EMC calculators to help determine if conditions are right for in-bin drying – or inverse, re-wetting – to get your grain to the right moisture percentage.

• Understand the limitations. In-bin drying can bring down moisture only so many points, and in-field drying has its limitations, as well (such as field loss). So, in some cases, the best option might be to look at utilizing a high-temperature drying system. Proper conditioning before and during the storage process is imperative, if you want to prevent loss from spoilage.