The following are some tips that may help corn producers achieve better grain quality while minimizing the drying cost:
Harvest corn at 20% or less moisture content.
Load corn into clean bins immediately after harvest. Bins should be cleaned and sanitized prior to harvest to minimize insect problems. Move corn from the field to grain bins as soon as possible. The amount of time before spoilage begins depends on grain moisture content and air temperature. A safe rule of thumb is to hold freshly harvested corn in carts or trucks no longer than 12 hours. Warm air temperatures > 80oF, and higher grain moisture levels are the most critical factors for decreasing the time required for the grain to spoil.
Check the moisture content of each load of grain as it is placed in the drying bin. There can be some variation in moisture content, but you need to know the average moisture content of the bin to determine the minimum necessary air flow needed and the allowable depth of grain in the bin.
Open air exits and start the fan as soon as the grain depth is about 1 foot deep on the perforated floor. Be sure to use spreading devices or some other means to keep the grain leveled as the bin is being filled. If the grain is allowed to cone, there will be an increase of small particles in the center of the cone/ or central portion of the bin resulting in the air not being able to reach this grain because of increased resistance to flow. This makes it very hard to dry and control moisture uniformly in the grain bin and may cause spoilage.
Add corn to drying bin in shallow layers until the moisture content decreases. High moisture corn (18 to 20%) can be added in 4 feet layers on top of dry grain if the fan can provide at least 3 to 4 cfm/bu through the total depth in the bin.
Level corn inside each drying bin continuously – never allow coning to occur. Some manual work may be required to maintain a level surface on the top when the maximum depth is reached. This will ensure uniform airflow through all the grain assuming it has been placed in the bin with a good spreader.
Monitor the moisture content of corn daily. Corn must be cooled to avoid nighttime condensation on the inner walls. If the heat has been on long enough for the complete mass of wheat to be warmed and the weather is clear and dry with humidity below 60%, turn the heat off when the moisture content of the grain drops to within 1% of the target moisture content. Continue running the fans, and the residual heat in the grain will finish the drying process.
Probe the bin periodically to check for insect infestation and grain temperature increase. Corn temperature increase usually means moisture migration. Aerate whenever this is detected. If the problem is in the center of the bin and aeration is not effective, move the grain to another bin to solve this problem. Problems in the center of the bin usually indicate that a lot of fines and/or trash accumulated in this area during filling.
Never add more heat than necessary to adjust the humidity of the drying air down to about 55%. The maximum heat needed, even in rain or 100% humidity will be about 15-17oF above the outdoor temperature.
Cool grain as soon as possible in the fall. Target temperatures should be initially around 60°F.
Continue to aerate and uniformly cool grain to between 30°F to 40°F if possible. This will help avoid internal moisture migration and insect activity.
Monitor grain and aerate monthly to maintain uniform temperature and moisture levels throughout. Aerate more often if moisture or temperatures increase.
Keep the grain cool as long as possible into the early spring.
Do not aerate in early summer unless problems develop.
Cover fans and openings when not in use to help avoid air, moisture, and potential insect movement.
Monitor carefully and fumigate if needed.
Inspect corn surface at least every week throughout the bin storage period.
Post time: Jun-27-2022