Check Your Stored Grain; Prevent Spoilage

Corn stored in all positions in Wisconsin as of March 1 totaled 359 million bushels. That’s up 14 percent from last year, according to the latest National Agricultural Statistics Service grain stocks report. Of the total stocks, 54 percent were stored on-farm.

As we go into spring and summer, we’ll be facing warmer temperatures and need to work harder to keep grain cool so it stores better, explains Extension Specialist Ken Hellevang from North Dakota State University. He says temperature and humidity are the two variables that can impact grain quality.

Hellevang says the moisture content standard has gotten drier over the years for corn because it tends to store longer now. This is due to more international markets and higher year-round demand from ethanol plants. You were in control of the moisture when it went into the bin. Now, your focus needs to be on temperature, he says.

The optimum temps for insect infestations are 70-90 degrees, Hellevang says. He recommends farmers keep their corn below 50 degrees. For Wisconsin farmers, he suggests keeping the temperatures around 40 degrees.

How do you do that? Take advantage of the cool days and nights by running fans. Hellevang recommends covering the fan during the day so that there’s no easy access for air to enter the grain and warm it up.