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Beware risks with make-shift grain storage

Beware risks with make-shift grain storage

  • Updated
Wet grain piles deteriorate rapidly
With the elevators and farm bins full, durum is piled on the ground at this farmer’s farm in North Dakota.

With anticipated shortages of grain bin capacity this fall, some farmers will be relying on unconventional storage solutions. That could lead to grain quality issues without proper management, said Gary Woodruff, a GSI district manager and grain conditioning expert.

He noted that good conventional alternatives available to farmers include pile systems involving wall panels, a tarp for weather protection and proper aeration. A flat storage building, specifically equipped with aeration tubes or tunnels, can also safely hold excess grain, he added.

Unconventional storage sites – a machine shed, for example – pose risks.

“The first is a structural issue,” Woodruff said. “If you pile corn in the building without additional sup-port to the walls, they can blow out. Grain is a movable product, and any corn against a wall can cause structural failures.”

The other concern is grain quality.

“If there is no aeration system, the grain should be stored at 13% moisture or below, late in the season after temperatures are down to 50 degrees to prevent spoilage,” Woodruff said. “Leave the grain there no longer than you absolutely have to, depending on temperature and humidity. It’s only a matter of a days or a few weeks, and your grain quality will be in trouble.”

Unequipped machine sheds and other unconventional grain storage sites should be considered as a last resort, he said.

“Once you have to rely on those, you have put yourself in a position of compromise,” Woodruff said. “Then it becomes a challenge of managing and doing the best you can, but there still may be losses.”

For additional information, he suggests farmers contact their grain system dealer or ag university re-sources.

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