Spring is here, and there are changes that may need to be made to your grain storage operation. Below, IntelliFarms provides tips for 1) those who have or are in the process of emptying bins and 2) those who will be storing grain longer.
- Those who have emptied or are in the process of emptying grain bins. Once your bins are emptied, it's a good time to start making preparations for the following year's use. That way preparations are not a hurried process right at the stressful time of harvest. We offer the following tips:
- Sanitize your bins. Even a small amount of grain with mold or insect infestation left in the bin from this year's harvest can contaminate new grain emptied into the bin next harvest. It is better to take care of the issue early, rather than let the contamination multiply throughout the course of the summer.
- Check your bin foundation, roof, walls, vents and hatches for any cracks or holes. Fill the gaps and make plans to repair or replace components that have deteriorated prior to next year's harvest. Similarly, inspect your fans, heaters and electrical wiring and repair or replace any deteriorated components.
- If you have cables in the bin, go ahead and tie them down to the bin floor using fishing line. This important step can be easily forgotten once harvest hits. Having cables straight up-and-down will ensure they are spaced to give you accurate measurements of your stored grain.
- For those with a BinManager system, turn the fan and/or heater switches on the Master Controller box to the "Off" position. However, leave your BinManager system power "On." IntelliFarms' engineers are constantly making updates to help your system perform optimally. Leaving the system on will ensure that these software updates can be sent wirelessly to the Master Controller box throughout the summer, rather than have them all hit at once at harvest. Also update your BinManager settings to "Monitor Only" operating mode and sensors in grain to "Auto."
- Those who are continuing to store grain. The warmer outside temperatures may have an effect on the conditions of your grain inside the bin. The illustration below shows how during the spring, warm air with temperatures affected by the warmer outside air and bin walls circulates and then comes in contact with cooler grain toward the center of the bin. When the warm air meets the cool grain, there is the potential for condensation.
With condensation, it is possible for the wetter pockets of grain to be more vulnerable to spoilage if not managed. Even with this potential, IntelliFarms does not recommend a one-size-fits-all approach to managing grain in warmer temperatures. Every bin is different. There are some sources that recommend warming up stored grain in the spring, but this may not be the right approach for all bins. It can be affected by geography/weather patterns, bin and fan specs, grain type, etc.
IntelliFarms first and foremost recommends that you are active in monitoring your grain bin or grain silo during the spring, and take note of fluctuations in grain temperature and moisture that could cause problems. Automated grain storage management technology will assist you with measuring and successfully managing these fluctuations.
For BinManager customers, we recommend that you check to make sure you're set up to receive alerts. Also, leave your switches in "Auto" – your BinManager is still measuring conditions and running accordingly in order to get your grain to your targets. Spring can be an ideal time to finish the process of drying or rehydrating your grain.
Management of your grain bins when outdoor temperatures are changing can be challenging. IntelliFarms' Grain Specialists are on-call at any time to answer your questions, and they have the expertise and experience to help you successfully address these challenges. Please contact your IntelliFarms representative or the IntelliFarms headquarters at any time for consultation.
Spring is also a good time to consider changes in your storage technology for the following season. If you are interested in having temperature and moisture sensing across the bin in all cables, talk to your representative about IntelliFarms' new 3G Plus Cables.