Management of grain storage requires careful planning, including proper sanitation, protection from insects and alternate strategies to move grain to spread risk, according to a University of Missouri Extension grain specialist.
Sanitation includes cleaning bins and handling equipment, eradicating potential pests and removing all old-crop grain from the storage facility, says Bill Casady, MU crops engineer. Here are his recommendations:
* Clean trucks and combines. Make it part of your routine maintenance when you inspect fans, dry floors, prepare and lubricate augers and other components. Routine cleaning when the job is completed helps to avoid forgotten piles of grain that can make a home for grain pests.
* Use self-cleaning components wherever possible to make the cleaning easier and complete. A little leftover grain can act as an inoculant that will contaminate any new grain introduced to the system.
* Spray walls and other parts of grain structures with residual insecticides to protect grain from infestations. This is advised if storing grain for a long period.
* Set the combine to harvest good, clean high-quality grain.
* Store only high quality clean grain.
Management of quality grain even in ordinary bins requires good planning. Be sure to have several strategies for moving commodity crops to spread the risk. There are several options for better marketing grain, and on-farm storage is just one of them, Casady says. "If yields are likely to overfill bins, plan to take a portion of the crop to commercial storage. Flat storage, as opposed to storage in bins, is for emergency temporary storage only."