Fill your sample container from the start, middle and end. Avoid filling your sample container all at once to make sure you’re getting good overall representation.
Test kernel moisture to determine how much drying is required and continually check samples as they go through the dryer to make sure you stay on track. Stored corn needs to be 15% moisture or less.
Putting warm kernels in a cold bin can be a recipe for disaster. Condensation and moisture migration can create areas of high moisture and potential spoilage. Ensure kernels are allowed enough time to cool before the bin.
Moving grain from the combine to the truck, conveyors to dryers, dyers to bins and everything in between can take its toll. Handle grain as gently as possible to avoid unnecessary damage and consider the use of cushion boxes and other methods to cushion as it is being moved.
One of the best ways to prevent spoilage is to ensure you start with a freshly cleaned bins that are free of potential contaminants. Harvest residue, dust and other debris that becomes hard packed under flooring, vents and other surface areas, restricting the airflow necessary for maintaining cooler temperatures. Additionally, this foreign material can also host insects and diseases potential disease which could potentially damage your harvest during storage.
Using aeration fans to move fresh air into the bin is a great way to gradually decrease moisture levels (provided it is not overly humid or raining). As a general rule, airflow inside the bin tends to follow the path of least resistance and is greatest around outer bin walls. As a result, fines tend to congregate towards the upper middle of the bin and can sometimes impede airflow.
Not only does this remove the highest concentration of fines and damaged kernels in the center of the bin, it also creates a uniform grain depth throughout the bin (center and sidewalls) and a flow-funnel to naturally increase airflow and reduces the risk of spoilage. The removed (core) contents can then be cleaned and replaced.
Throughout longer-term, winter storage it’s important to make sure internal temperature of your stored corn gradually mirrors the changes to outdoor temperatures. When they are misaligned unregulated airflow within the bin can hyper-concentrate moisture into certain areas where they can become problematic.
Taking samples at various stages (before drying, after drying, just prior to storage and in-storage), is a great way to detect and address problems in your grain handling systems and protect the overall quality of your harvest.
Drastic temperature increases in relatively short periods of time, like prairie chinooks, can drastically affect bin temperatures. Careful monitoring and physical checks are recommended at these times. If temperatures within the bin increase dramatically over short periods, immediate cooling (either by aeration or coring) is essential.