By Jim Taylor
Published on: Oct 4, 2017
Maintaining grain quality as well as safety are two reasons to make sure you have the right amount of airflow in your bins. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)
“Our first goal is to make sure it comes out of the bin.”
It’s a simple rule, but still the primary goal of any farmer who stores grain, says Randy Holthaus, marketing and business development manager in grain systems and seed equipment at GROWMARK.
“As overly simple as that is, we want to make sure that it’s not over-dried,” he said on the RFD Today radio program. “But the main thing is that it doesn’t spoil.”
Holthaus said he’s been talking with farmers about “putting science back into storing grain.”
“The best the grain is ever going to be is when we harvest it,” he said. “When it comes off the stalk, when it comes off the stem, whether it’s beans or corn, it’s as good as it’s ever going to get. It can only get worse.
“We want to maintain that optimum quality, that optimum test weight and that optimum product as best we can,” he added.
Holthaus reminds farmers to take advantage of something that was very popular in the 1970s – a static pressure gauge, which helps determine the proper airflow rate in the bin.
“When you put a fan on a bin and you run that fan, there’s a pressure that develops between the fan and the grain that is called static pressure, or back pressure,” he said.
Related: Once you know the airflow rate, what’s next? Scroll down or Click here to find out how long to run the fans.
Safety is also a major reason behind proper grain storage.
“Ironically, that’s what causes a lot of the deaths in the grain-bin entrapments is that something went wrong and we didn’t get it cool enough and dry enough, so we wind up getting in the bin to get it out,” Holthaus explained.
Put science back into storing grain
Two things to know to get the most from your stored grain.
POSTED ON: 9/22/2017 12:14:00 PM
By Randy Holthaus
It’s time once again to store grain, and that means it’s time to accomplish your two primary goals of grain storage.
1. Keep it from spoiling.
2. Make sure it comes out of the bin when it’s time.
As humorous as this oversimplification may seem, everyone who stores grain develops a habit or evolved practice of aerating their stored grain that rarely incorporates any scientific consideration of when, how or why. It’s considered a win-win on both counts if it comes out of the bin when summoned, but the irony of this accomplishment is that this “winning” combination based on rules of thumb and gut feel is anything but “winning.” Not utilizing science means a significant number of bushels have been lost in the form of reduced saleable water weight from overdrying, and energy usage is more than double of what was necessary.
So, how do we introduce real science into the practice of aerating your stored grain?
1. Know the airflow rate in cubit feet/minute (CFM) per bushel and appropriate fan run time.
If we don’t know the amount of air going through the grain, it’s impossible to know how long to run the fan. A static pressure gauge is a simple, economical device that measures the amount of static pressure or back pressure resistance between the fan and the grain.
By knowing this pressure, you can determine the total CFMs entering the bin by referencing the fan manufacturer’s fan performance charts. Divide the total CFMs by the number of bushels currently in the bin. The result is the actual airflow rate or CFM/bushel. The CFM/bushel will allow you to know exactly how long to run the fan(s) for each aeration cycle.
2. Know WHEN to run the fan(s) by utilizing Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) charts.
Simply put, all grain will equalize its internal moisture content with the environment that surrounds it. When grain reaches this point, it has attained its “equilibrium moisture content.” By referencing an EMC chart, you can know the combination of the outside ambient air temperature and relative humidity to aerate your grain to reach and maintain a desired moisture content.
Knowing the airflow rate, the correct fan run time and the ideal environmental conditions to operate your aeration system is the scientific “trifecta” to successful aeration of grain.
You will sell more bushels by not overdrying and reduce your energy usage significantly. Your local FS grain systems specialist can assist you with this and all your grain drying, storage and handling needs.
See Original Post HERE