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Published August 20, 2012, 11:02 AM

Storage concerns

Most of the grain harvested across the region so far this year is dry. But some of the grain is hot, too, which could pose storage problems.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Most of the grain harvested across the region so far this year is dry. But some of the grain is hot, too, which could pose storage problems.

“This isn’t something we’ve encountered for a while. But it’s something we need to be aware of this year,” says Ken Hellevang, the North Dakota State University Extension Service grain-drying expert.

Normally, grain storage is an issue when the grain is wet, a problem that’s popped up repeatedly in recent years in the Upper Midwest. But storing grain also poses a risk when the grain’s temperature is high.

Anecdotal reports from across the region suggest a large amount of grain with higher-than-average temperatures is being harvested this year. For instance, Brian Eggebrecht, a Malta, Mont., farmer and president of his state’s Grain Growers Association, tells Agweek that some of his wheat, when harvested, was 100 degrees.

Wheat harvested in the summer can be stored safely, temporarily, when its temperature is 80 to 90 degrees, Hellevang says.

It’s recommended that the temperature of stored grain be kept within 20 degrees of the outside temperature.

As the outside temperature falls, the stored grain should be aerated to a cool, uniform temperature to prevent moisture migration, or the movement of moisture in stored grain from areas with higher temperatures to areas with lower temperatures.

Moisture migration, which can lead to grain spoilage, is a concern even when the stored grain has relatively low moisture content, Hellevang says.

More information on storing grain safely:

• Minnesota: www.extension.umn. edu/specializations/cropsystems/M1080-FS.pdf.

• North Dakota: www.ag.ndsu.edu/ pubs/plantsci/smgrains/ae701-1.htm.

• South Dakota: http://pubstorage.sdstate.edu/AgBio_Publications/articles/ExEx1003.pdf.

• Montana: www.msuextension. org/store/Products/Grain-Storage-Management__MT199135AG.aspx.

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