Low grain prices have resulted in significant amounts of grain still being held in storage waiting for better prices. As we get hints of spring with fluctuating temperatures it is important to monitor conditions in the grain bin to ensure that grain can be maintained at good quality by keeping it cool and dry. Ken Hellevang, a professor in North Dakota State University (NDSU) Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, recommends producers run the aeration fans periodically at night or during the cool part of the day to cool the grain. The goal is to keep the grain temperature cool during spring, preferably near 30°F. Aeration fans or ducts should be covered when not operating. If left uncovered, wind will push warm, moist spring air through the grain, warming it to near the daily maximum temperatures.
Hellevang suggests checking the stored grain every two weeks. While checking on the grain, measure and record the grain temperature and moisture content. Rising grain temperature may indicate insect or mold problems. Insect infestations can increase from being barely noticeable to major infestations in three to four weeks when the grain is warm. More information about spring grain bin drying and management is available on the NDSU web site at: