To get the most bang for your buck when it’s time to market your crops, you must store them properly throughout each season. Maintaining the quality of your stored grain is essential for preserving the crop and preventing issues from arising. While you cannot improve the quality of the grain while it’s in storage, you can use the following tips to uphold it.
Dry the Grain Down First
When storing your harvest, you must dry the grain to prevent moisture from accumulating. The longer you plan to store this crop, the lower the moisture content should be. Typically, moisture content should be below 13% if you plan on keeping your grain for a year or longer. If the moisture content is too high, the grain cannot dry, and its quality will decrease.
Drop the Temperature of the Grain
As soon as you place your crop in storage, begin lowering the temperature in increments of ten with aeration fans until you reach 30 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Implementing this practice will eliminate most insect and mold activity that can occur at higher temperatures. If the temperature exceeds 50 degrees, insects and mold will proliferate. Consider using a grain spreader in smaller bins to help aerate the grain better.
Inspect the Grain Regularly
During the summer season, it’s incredibly vital that you check your grain supply every week. During the winter, you only need to do this every few weeks. You’ll want to check the crop more in the warmer months because the temperature is higher, and the risk of increased moisture content can occur.
Forgetting to do this could lead to lower quality grain. To know if something is awry, look for a crust on the top layer of the crop or smell the grain. If there is a noticeable odor after opening the lid of the bin, the grain is most likely contaminated. Take a sample of your grain after every inspection to ensure the properties of the crop are within standard. There is no room for corrective action if you don’t take the time to inspect the grain regularly.
Maintaining the quality of your stored grain is highly important when you plan on marketing this crop. Knowing which properties to look for in grain quality can help you better understand how to store them. Without knowing what to look for in this crop, you may be using the wrong storage practices. If you notice issues with your grain, your best fix is to empty your bin of the affected crop and remove it from storage. Remember to keep a watchful eye on how you store your grain and consider the above tips to sustain its quality.