As temperatures begin to drop across the United States as we head into late fall, it's time to think about the challenges the colder weather provides in managing grain. Condensation is one of the main problems encountered in grain storage management, and it is particularly pronounced in the colder months.
During winter, when cold air comes in contact with warm grain at the bottom of the bin near the perforated floor, condensation occurs and increases the grain moisture, which can lead to surface crust formation and spoilage.
Also, due to the temperature difference between the outside and inside air, cool air near the wall of the bin will move down and push the warm air in the bin up because of the difference in air density. When warm air reaches the cooler surface at the top of the grain mass, more condensation occurs, which again can lead to surface crust formation and spoilage.
The diagram below demonstrates the movement of air typical in the cooler fall and winter months:
How can you manage condensation during the cooler months of the year?
- Cover the fan opening when the fan is turned off.
- Aerate the grain and keep the grain temperature as uniform as possible. Avoid temperature differences of more than 10 degrees F within the grain and more than 20 degree F between the grain and the outside air temperature. Non-uniform grain temperature can be identified and monitored by using temperature cables installed in the bins.
- During aeration, air of the appropriate equilibrium moisture content will need to be pushed through the mass to avoid moisture loss (and ultimately, money) during aeration. A controlled and automated system like BinManager selectively runs fans when appropriate and productive air is available, minimizing risk of over-drying the grain.
IntelliFarms' Grain Specialists are also on-hand to answer questions about managing grain during the cooler months and throughout the rest of the year. Contact us at any time.