Effective and safe storage is vital to avoid claims and rejections. Whatever the grain, in the wrong conditions, insects (mites, in particular), fungi (ergot and mycotoxins), and bacteria can thrive. A whole bin can quickly be overtaken if appropriate care is not taken.
So what can you do to protect your grain once it’s ready for storage? First, ensure appropriate aeration, temperature, and moisture—keep grain below 5˚C and with a moisture content below 13%. Depending on how long you intend to store the crop, it will require continual adjustment of the storage to deal with changes in the weather and the increased moisture uptake in winter. The key is to first know the conditions within the bin and then be able to alter them to stop any problems developing.
With anything but the smallest of storage operations, this is extremely time consuming. Like everything in the modern world, there is a technological solution. Automated monitoring. Several options allow for scalable levels of management. Companies such as Igrain provide automated systems that can detect and respond to temperature variation, moisture levels, and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the bin. CO2 levels are the main early indicator for biological contamination. Regular sampling of the grain then provides the final check.
Once you know the conditions within your grain storage, you need to adjust the aeration and temperature to maintain the optimal state. You may need to use approved insecticides to minimise the risk of mite infestation but a technological solution like ozonation is preferable. A sudden change in the weather can throw off the optimal settings and leave your grain vulnerable again. No surprise, the most efficient and cost effective solution is automation of the bins, linked to the monitoring system.