Safe storage ensures that you see a higher market return on your grain. Optimize the value of your grain in the most environmentally-friendly way with advanced technology tools that deliver precise real-time information on the state of your grain. Prevent mold, mites, insects and microbes from contaminating and guarantee the best yield for your hard work.
Safe Storage Charts
Safe storage chart recommendations describe the length of time grain can be stored before a 0.5% dry matter loss occurs. Dry matter loss (DML) is weight loss caused by molds, sprouting, insect damage and respiration.
The following safe storage charts show the storability of your grain for a specific set of grain moisture and temperature levels. It is important to note that the safe storage period is cumulative—it should be determined from the conditions (temperature and moisture) at the beginning of storage right after harvest and at more than one set of conditions as you go through a conditioning process. Estimates based on current grain moisture and temperature may not be accurate; a significant portion of total storability might have been lost due to poor post-harvest storage condition initially.
Table 1: Safe Storage Chart for Corn
Table 2: Safe Storage Chart for Canola
Table 3: Safe Storage Chart for Soybeans
Table 4: Safe Storage Chart for Cereals (Wheat and Rice)
What is Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC)?
To manage grain moisture manually or ideally with Integris Pro, it’s essential to understand the principle of Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). EMC is the resulting moisture content of grain and the air surrounding the grain after they have balanced each other out over a period of time. EMC is a very significant parameter in grain drying, cooling, conditioning and rewetting as well as optimizing efficient fan control in Integris Pro. EMC is the minimum moisture content of grain to which grain can be dried or the maximum moisture content to which grain can be rewetted at given air temperature and RH conditions, if the fan is operated.
At OPI, we go by the old saying: “if that grain is sold by weight, water is money.” So why not capture the maximum allowable moisture content when selling your grain? There are a number of ways to achieve this:
- Harvesting earlier at higher moisture contents, which helps you control the dry-down process between the drier and in the bin in order to dry down to the ideal moisture content at the lowest energy cost.
- Operating fans solely for the purpose of quality control with zero tolerance on shrink.
- Rehydrating when possible—given the right climatic conditions and sufficient airflow, time and the appropriate strategy should grain become drier than target.
- Establishing the most efficient conditioning program with a complete moisture monitoring-and-control system such as Integris Pro, along with the OPI moisture cable and Integris ProModel modelling program.
Temperature and Moisture Monitoring
Grain temperature and moisture monitoring are key components of safe grain storage management. Cool and dry grain conditions are optimum for safe storage of grain for longer duration. Respiration rate exponentially increases when grain starts to spoil and mold and insects develop inside the stored commodities. A rate of change in temperature (5.5°C or 10°F per week) is a good indicator of spoilage inside the bin. Respiration also produces additional moisture as a result of chemical changes in stored grain, which is absorbed by surrounding stored grain. Grain may also absorb the moisture condensed from inside the bin roof and side walls. This increase in grain moisture levels can potentially lead to hot spot development, and mold growth and must be monitored. An increase in grain moisture levels during a non-aerated grain storage period is also an indicator for potential spoilage.
By regularly monitoring grain temperature and moisture levels and ensuring that grain is dry and cool, grain can be safely stored for longer periods of time. Temperature cables are also used as input in aeration fan control, ensuring that the fan is operated only when the ambient air is cooler than the grain, for efficient cooling with minimum fan operation and without heating the grain. Tracking grain moisture levels during drying ensures that the fan is operated unless grain is fully dried. It also helps to prevent over drying the grain, estimating the safe storage period and potential risk of spoilage, as well as making the right management decisions about handling, storing and selling the grain.