Tips for drying and storing damp grains
By Canadian Grain Commission/Top Crop Manager
Wet weather during the 2018 harvest has forced many producers to take their crop off the field at high moisture levels. Artificial drying can help reduce the risk of spoilage due to excess moisture, but it is important to follow proper drying practices to prevent heat damage.
The high temperatures used in grain dryers can cause serious damage to grains if not managed closely, effectively reducing the grain’s quality, end use functionality and potential ability to germinate. A higher temperature of drying air increases the rate of grain drying, but grain damage occurs if the temperature is too high. To prevent grain damage it is important that the maximum air temperature does not exceed the maximum allowable temperature of the grain being handled.
The maximum safe air temperature for drying will depend on the type of dryer, the crop and its end use. Detailed drying guidelines for cereal grains, oilseeds and pulses are available on the Canadian Grain Commission’s website.
Tough or damp crops are more likely to become mouldy or infested with insects, but proper dying and aeration in storage can help reduce the risk of spoilage. However, the consequences of dryer damage are more serious with some crops than with others.
The Canadian Grain Commission provides the following resources for producers:
- Drying guidelines for Canadian grains
- Tough and damp moisture ranges for Canadian grains
- Calculation of moisture shrinkage allowance for grain artificially dried at primary elevators
Earlier in 2018, at the Southwest Agricultural Conference held at the University of Guelph Ridgetown campus, John Gnadke from Advanced Grain Systems Inc., explored best management practices for various drying and storage operations.
With forty years’ experience working with multiple grain drying systems, Gnadke has spent many hours advising and educating producers, helping them enhance their grain management skills.
He recommends checking grain temperature by, “Placing a thermometer 12-inches deep in the grain at the top of the bin on drying bins, or positive aeration bins or attach it in front of the aeration fan on negative aeration bins. With the thermometer at these locations, it will read the highest temperature the grain is “feeling” and by comparing it to the average daily temperature you will know if you are within 10 F of outside air.”
Following proper drying practices and monitoring grain in storage after can help minimize quality risks associated with a wetter harvest season.
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