What are you doing with the corn and soybeans you harvest? Are you selling as they are harvested, concerned about a long, slow price decline typical of a short crop? Or are you storing them, hoping for the market to continue climbing as end users bid higher to acquire inventory?
For those of you who are storing, and storing on your farm, you must ensure that you are going to keep it in good condition because the crop is valuable, and you may not have much of it. Here’s how...
Preparing a grain bin and its associated conditioning equipment is best achieved with a checklist. Make sure you have several pieces of paper and several sharp pencils, along with some time to properly take care of the task.
Ag and Natural Resources Specialist Curtis Young of Ohio State University, offers an extensive list of items that will need attention as you prepare to store the new crop and preserve its quality, and says the key to success is sanitation. Remember, quality cannot improve in storage, but certainly can deteriorate, so ensure that you are not contributing to the latter.
Cleaning and facility preparation:
- Starting with thorough cleaning of every piece of equipment through which or in which grain will be passed or hauled.
- Remove all traces of old grain from combines, combine heads, truck beds, grain carts, augers, lift buckets, grain pits, grain driers, bins and any other equipment used for harvesting, transporting, and handling grain.
- Even small amounts of moldy and/or insect-infested grain left in equipment can contaminate a bin of new grain.
- Since grain is usually in contact with grain bins for the greatest length of time, extra attention should be paid to the sanitation of these structures.
- Remove any grain or grain dust from inside the bins by sweeping or vacuuming empty bins and brushing down walls.
- Pay close attention to cracks and crevices, ledges over doors, and hollow tube ladder rungs on or in which grain could have been trapped from the previous storage seasons.
- Fans, aeration ducts, exhausts, and when possible, beneath slotted floors should be cleared of debris as well.
- Dispose of all debris in a lawful manner and away from the storage facility. Sanitation outside of bins is as important as inside of the bins.
- Ideally there should be no vegetation (weeds, shrubs, etc.) growing up against the outside of the bin. Grain pests (insects and rodents) can be harbored in the vegetation.
- Bare ground covered with gravel or cement is preferred, but short-mown grass is tolerable.
- Remove any spilled grain from around the outside of the bin and storage facility.
- Once storage structures have been thoroughly cleaned, carefully inspect them for signs of deterioration, especially for leaks and holes through which insects, birds or rodents can gain easy access to the stored grain or rain and snow can drip or blow in onto the grain to produce wet spots that can lead to mold growth.