Grain Storage Management Tips

Nate Bruce, Farm Business Management Specialist,

Corn harvest is underway throughout Delmarva. With the current slump in grain prices, many producers will look to carry grain by utilizing storage. Here is a list of several tips before placing grain in storage.

  1. Account for Storage Expenses

Marketing grain from the field incurs a different breakeven price than selling unpriced grain from storage. Your breakeven price will change when putting grain in storage because additional expenses occur such as insurance on storages, bin rentals, drying expenses, interest expenses, etc. Make sure to account for these expenses before selling any grain from storage.

  1. Ensure Grain is Suitable for Storage

Before putting any grain into storage, make sure it is dried down to suitable moisture levels for long-term storage (13.5% for corn and 12.5% for soybean). Additional fuel expenses and time will be needed to dry grain to optimal storage condition.

  1. Store Clean Grain

Limit grain damage and reduce collection of foreign materials and fines by using proper combine settings. If fines are still a problem after adjusting combine settings, clean the grain bin prior to putting grain in storage. Make sure to minimize drop height in the grain system and reduce kernel damage by using cushion boxes to minimize grain-on-grain contact. Core the grain multiple times if not using a grain spreader to remove fines, broken kernels, and foreign materials that accumulate in the center core. A level surface will help improve aeration.

  1. Store Cool Grain

Grain should be cooled because moisture content and temperature affect the rate of mold growth and grain deterioration. Cool grain with aeration to extend the allowable storage time and reduce potential for pest infestation. Cooling grain as outdoor temperatures cool will reduce moisture migration and condensation potential. Below is a chart from North Dakota State that lists the amount of days grain can be stored at various temperatures and moisture content.

Allowable storage time for grain

  1. Stay Safe

Grain entrapment incidents take the life of nearly two dozen people every year in the US. Nearly 80% of incidents involve a person inside the bin when grain-unloading equipment is operating. Manage grain spoilage to avoid the most common reason people enter bins. If you absolutely must enter the bin, make sure to never go alone and have someone else there. Always utilize fall restraint equipment and make sure it is properly in place.