How to Protect your Harvested Grain from the Elements

Farmers are highly dependent on harvest season. Harvested grain represents the fruits of their labor and is critical to their livelihood. But the journey from field to table is fraught with challenges, and one of the most formidable adversaries is Mother Nature herself. Rain, humidity, temperature, and pests all pose a constant threat to stored grain.

Today, we’ll look at how to protect your harvested grain from the elements. Secure your harvest, and your family’s livelihood, by following these tips.

Like any valuable commodity, harvested grain demands a storage facility that aligns with its unique characteristics. Furthermore, you need to also be mindful of the climate where you live because it has a huge impact on the storage facility you choose.

How to Store Grain in Silos or Bins the Right Way

This is by far the most common choice for protecting grain. Bins and silos shield grain from the direct impact of the elements. However, you need to be mindful of the type of grain you’re storing because each one has specific requirements regarding ventilation. You also need to be mindful of the size of silo or grain bin that you choose to store your grains in.  There are many different sizes and capacities of silos and grain bins for sale, so it is important to determine the one that is right for your application.

In most cases though, the process of protecting grain in a silo or bin is the same. Let’s look at how to do this the right way.

Proper Aeration is Essential

Grain should always be kept below 13% moisture content if you plan to store it for a year or longer. You do this by running aeration fans to let air flow through the grain. Keep in mind that it takes 5 to 10 days of aeration for the gain to equalize, so don’t expect the moisture to lessen overnight.

Make sure you pay attention to the temperature of the grain being stored in the silo. Try and get it below 50 degrees since that destroys mold and insects, further protecting the grain. However, there’s an exception to this rule.

Cold Grain Storage is Short-Term Only

Naturally, you can’t keep the temperature that low during summer, so if you plan to store grain throughout the summer, then it’s different. Run aeration enough to keep the temperature 10 to 15 degrees below the outside temperature. If you do this along with the other methods we discuss, then the moisture should stay within tolerable limits.  

Run Auger to Pull Down Grain

After filling up a grain silo, run the auger so that the center of the grain is pulled down. Its center should funnel inward so it’s just below the walls of the silo. It will create a V shape. If you plan to store the grain over an extended period of time, then you’ll need to consistently run the augers to move the center again. This circulates the grain and helps the aeration system regulate its temperature.

Furthermore, always alternate between silos when you start pulling grain from them. It further circulates the air through the grain and also lets you check each system for potential plugging.

Preparation Also Goes a Long Way

Proper drying techniques play a crucial role in maintaining the quality of stored grain. It inhibits the growth of molds and safeguards the grain from contamination. If high-moisture grain is placed into a silo, it significantly raises the moisture level of the entire silo.

If possible, let the grain sit out in the ambient air and dry before placing it in the silo. If the weather doesn’t permit, then you can also use a mechanical drying process. Due to the unpredictable nature of weather, most farmers use the latter option. It’s more controlled and ensures that grain is dried uniformly without compromising quality.

Final Thoughts

The careful preparation of harvested grain for storage involves a combination of proper storage and preparation techniques. Both are vital to the longevity of grain. By adopting these measures, farmers maintain the quality of their grain.

Posted in Farming on Jan 31, 2024