Control Your Grain by Practicing Active Grain Management this Year

Wouldn’t it be nice to get into your fields earlier than you thought you could?

Active grain management at harvest can help you gain more control at one of the busiest and stressful times of the year.

If set-up properly farmers who practice active grain management can get into the fields several days earlier than normal because they know they have an effective system in place to dry down their moist or damp grain. By adding a grain dryer to your farm operation you may be able to stretch harvest out enough to do without the expense of running an additional combine. Moreover, your grain management system is equally effective in those wet years where all your grain needs to be dried down before storing or delivery to a local elevator.

Active grain management involves the movement of harvested grain from the fields to the grain bin (grain bins) for safe storage over the winter months and longer. Safe storage inside a grain bin often requires a grain drying or grain rehydrating treatment to establish equilibrium moisture content (EMC) of the stored grain. Optimum moisture and temperature inside a full grain bin will minimize the risk of losses due to spoiled grain and shrink.

One of the most critical parts of the grain management system is the grain bin itself. A sizable flat bottom grain bin with full floor aeration to maximize the airflow is recommended. Another vital part of the puzzle is the size of the fan. With a goal to maximize airflow throughout the stored grain mass inside the grain bin, it is prudent to get the biggest fan that makes sense for your grain bin size. Moreover, you may have to core your stored grain to ensure air can move through the entire grain bin. Coring grain is the removal of the center core of the grain within the grain bin.

Often installed with the fan is large propane or natural gas burner that acts to dry down moist or tough stored grain a lot faster and more efficiently than natural air drying. A massive fan with a burner is a type of grain drying referred to as Fast-Dry.

It is recommended to install both moisture and temperature cables into each grain bin. The temperature cables only provide a temperature reading where the moisture cables offer temperature, moisture content and relative humidity of stored grain. By doing so, producers take advantage of a grain monitoring system that is readily available to them. The cables are useful when trying to lower the temperature of the grain mass or to condition the grain for storage. This could include a desire to dry or rehydrate stored grain by a couple of percentage points with ‘natural air drying’ by running a fan only, or a need to reduce grain moisture by several percentage points by fast drying using a natural gas or propane burner.

In order to manage your grain properly, the following grain equipment is needed:

  1. Large flat bottom grain bins
  2. Full floor aeration installed in each grain bin
  3. Propane or Natural Gas Burner
  4. Temperature and moisture cables installed for active grain monitoring on a computer or smartphone.

In summary, grain management is the proper use of all components mentioned. If done correctly, grain management can pay off for producers struggling with the problem of excessively wet or dry grain in the fall. The outcome of proper grain management is to get your grain to the adequate moisture and temperature condition so that it can be stored safely throughout the winter and ready to market when it makes sense.

"When speaking to your sales rep, we learned a lot about the advantages of stiffened walls as well as how temperature monitoring and fan control can keep you from losing value on your grain."

Don Chapman (farmer)