Grain straight off the combine could be topping 40degC in some areas and it is vital to begin using cooling fans as soon as it enters the store to avoid spoilage, advises Dr Gavin Lishman of Lincolnshire-based Martin Lishman.
“With high temperatures there are various things that can occur. If they remain too high, they can immediately damage the germ in barley and any grain where the temperature remains too high can deteriorate.
“High temperatures also allow insects to develop more readily. It is not easy to get to target temperatures to avoid insects but you can get a lot of heat out by sensible use of cooling fans.
“If grain is coming in at 40degC and the air temperature is 30degC there is still 10degC that can be taken out. Having used a temperature probe to monitor temperature the next stage is to cool just at night. But it [air temperature] may not be cool enough until 1 or 2am.”
For this reason, having automatic measurement of temperature differential allows fans to be turned on and off as efficiently as possible, says Dr Lishman. “If you get it wrong you can end up pumping heat in again.”
It is important to take grain temperature on a regular basis during the storage period, particularly this year, he says. “If you sell grain and it is too hot you can get deductions for temperature. Take temperature on a regular basis during all storage but particularly this year. It is essential to know what is going on.
“If you get air moving through as soon as possible there is not likely to be development of hotspots. The most common mistake is to wait until cold weather comes. From day one the fans should be on even if it is the same temperature as the air. If grain settles it can start to consolidate and insects start to grow and multiply.”
Further information on grain storage can be found at: cereals.ahdb.org.uk/crop-management/grain-storage-and-sampling.aspx