TIPS FOR MANAGING GRAIN BINS IN HEAT OF SUMMER

Samantha Scantlebury

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O
ver the next several days, heat advisories are in place for much of the central U.S. stretching into the northern region of the country. Many farms continue to store grain on-site into the summer, which can provide some unique challenges in managing optimal temperature and moisture of stored grain. Below are tips from IntelliFarms on how to manage your grain bins during the summer heat, and retain the quality and value of your grain.  

1. Keep it cool. This is obvious, but it becomes challenging when the natural convection of heat along the bin roof and bin walls has a tendency to warm the grain. Grain that warms closer to outside air temperatures run the higher risk of insect and mold activity. Recommended temperatures of the grain mass during the summer are 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the northern regions of the U.S., and 50 degrees in the southern regions. Maintaining these cold/cool temperatures of the grain can be done with proper aeration and fan configurations that pull in cooler air at optimal times when the air works productively to maintain the cool grain temperature. 

Keep in mind, that the coolest part of the day may also be the highest moisture. Automated systems can help determine when outside air is optimal (for example, during early cool, dry mornings) to be run through the fans in order to maintain the targeted temperature and moisture of the grain.

2. Ventilate the space between the top of the grain and the bin roof. Keeping this "head space" cool can be achieved by having adequate openings at the eave and peak of the roof to draw the warm air out the top of the bin instead of having it settle on the top-middle of the grain mass, where it can start to cause problems. 

3. Know your grain moisture heading into summer months. Understand the safe storage moisture content of your commodity, and work to get your grain to that moisture content prior to the heat of summer. That way, your only focus is maintaining during the warmest days, watching for temperature and moisture spikes.  IntelliFarms can provide safe storage charts for various commodities upon request.

4. Monitor, monitor, monitor. High, fluctuating temperatures have a greater potential to affect your grain and its safety. It's important that you understand what is happening so you have the ability to react quickly if hotspots occur, for example. With your year's worth of work in your bins, it's worth taking the time to ensure it's safe. Remote monitoring technology and on-site monitoring tools make it easy to review your grain conditions and respond quickly. 

Contact IntelliFarms at any time to speak with one of our Grain Specialists on strategies and best practices on grain storage management. And stay cool in this summer heat!