Grain management doesn't stop when the grain goes in the bin. In fact, there are a number of ways things can go awry in the bin if not managed and monitored well, diminishing grain quality and eating away at your bottom line.
IntelliFarms offers a monthly IntelliFarms University Grain School course to discuss best practices in grain storage management, as well as other topics. One topic covered is commonly brought to IntelliFarms' sales and service representatives during the fall and winter months - troubles concerning peaked grain in the grain bin and how to address it.
How do you remedy peaked grain?
A good grain management practice is coring the grain. This involves removing a few loads of grain from the grain bin after filling. During loading of the grain bin, fines tend to accumulate at the bin fill point, generally in the center of the grain bin. (See image below.) This column of fines resist airflow from natural air drying or cooling, and can create a haven for insects and mold because of higher temperatures. And soon to follow can be hotspots. The process of coring removes the fines and results in an inverted cone configuration. This allows for more uniform airflow throughout the grain bin.
How many loads of grain need to be removed?
Accumulation of fines in the grain bin varies from the center (high accumulation) to side (low accumulation). It is assumed that within a 10' diameter across the center of the bin is where about 90% of the fines accumulate, without the use of a spreader. The table below gives you a sense of how many loads should be removed from certain grain bin sizes to properly core the grain:
Based on Corn with a 23° filling angle, coring center peak at 1/2 the bin diameter
There will be different numbers of loads for coring if the grain mass configurations (where the grain levels and peaks in the grain bin) are different. The amounts will also vary upon the grain type and the moisture content of the grain.
At IntelliFarms, we generally promote a "one time coring" process. In a perfect world, coring the the grain periodically as the bin is filled is the best scenario. However, this requires a lot of additional time and effort, which we know is often unrealistic. At minimum, a single coring will result in fines being removed from the peak, allowing for more uniform airflow. Not coring can cause airflow to channel to the outside of the bin, creating a lack of airflow through a portion of the bin that can in fact be much larger than just the center peak.
These are general guidelines for coring and minimizing the risks that come with peaked grain. Every bin scenario is different, so we do encourage you to contact an IntelliFarms representative if you have particular challenges or questions about best practices for managing your bin. With proper management, you can protect the quantity and quality of your stored grain, and boost your bottom line.