Pull out center grain for improved storage
With harvest winding down, your job of managing grain is just beginning. Job No. 1 should be to core each bin. Coring refers to pulling out one or more loads from the center of the bin.
“There are two main benefits from coring,” says Richard Stroshine, a grain quality specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. One is obvious: getting fines out of the middle. The second is just as important: leveling off the bin to remove the peak in the middle.
You can reduce fines in grain by using a grain cleaner, preferably before it heads into the dryer. Whether you do that or not, broken pieces and other material referred to as fines are likely to accumulate in the center of the bin as grain feeds in from above. Fines and even “beeswings” in the center make it harder for air to move through.
• Core your grain bins to remove fines and improve storage.
• Removing the center of the grain mass also levels the top.
• Continue running fans as outside temperature drops.
“You’re going to need to cool down the grain as the temperature drops outside, so it’s important to move those cooling fronts up through the grain. If the center core has more air resistance, the front won’t move up evenly,” Stroshine explains.
People often let grain peak when they’re filling a bin. However, the peak can become a trouble spot. “The cooling or drying front won’t reach the surface at the same time,” Stroshine says. “You need to level off the top of the grain mass by coring.”
Here are five tips Stroshine offers besides coring:
• Know fan size. If your fan handles 1 cubic foot per minute, or cfm, per bushel, typical for an aeration bin, you’re going to move fronts quickly — likely in a day or less. But if you have the 0.1- or 0.25-cfm-per-bushel fans often found in storage bins, it will take six or three days, respectively.
• Know temperature. Stick a thermometer into the top of the grain mass at 9 to 12 inches. Some bins also have temperature cables. Watch those carefully. The surface may be cool because of contact with cool air from outside, but when the cooling front goes through, temperature beneath the surface will drop.
• Check bins. Carefully check for problems in bins every other week. If there are signs of trouble, check more often.
• Put safety first. Never enter a bin with the unloading auger running.
• Manage temperature accordingly. Some specialists in colder areas recommend freezing grain. Stroshine prefers not freezing it.
This article published in the December, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.