It is essential to continue to manage your corn and soybeans once they’ve left the field by keeping the grain in good condition once it’s loaded into bins. Proper management begins with the loading of the grain into the bin, followed by managing temperature and moisture content of the grain mass and having a regular observation program to detect development of problems before they get out of hand. 

Recommended, safe-grain moisture contents for storage vary with type of grain and projected length of storage (Table 1).

maximum moisture contents for safe grain storage

Good grain storage management should have started at the time of filling the grain storage structure, which is usually a cylindrical bin of various sizes. Grain should have been cleaned as it was being off-loaded from grain carts and loaded into the bin. For ease of management practices such as controlling temperature and moisture content of the grain using aeration fans, the grain should be free of dirt, weed seeds, fines and chaff. Not cleaning these materials out of the grain mass can result disruptions of air flow through the entire mass. Areas of heavy deposition of these materials can be so dense that moisture and temperature cannot be altered. Coring the grain mass occasionally while it is being filled can reduce the amount of fines, etc. that accumulate in the center of the grain mass.

 

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One error that many grain managers allow to occur after corn and soybeans have been loaded into a bin is leaving a peak of grain in the head space area and/or over-filling a bin to the point that there is no room to work in the head space area. One should be able to enter the head space area of a filled bin to level the grain to a common depth across the entire diameter of the bin. Peaks on top of the grain mass are difficult to manage with aeration. Air, like water, will travel the path of least resistance. Air will more quickly exit a grain mass through the lowest edges of peaked grain leaving the center of the peaked grain not aerated.