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How to avoid grain spoilage after the polar vortex

calendar icon 12.02.2019

Freezing temperatures will not directly impact the quality of stored grain. But as the weather becomes warmer pockets of moisture appear that can cause serious problems (e.g. mold, odor and insects).

This video, generated in the Internet-of-Crops® platform, provides a prediction of grain temperature and moisture for a certain silo of corn located in the US Midwest. Spoilage areas become visible in less than 60 days from the end of freezing weather.

What happens when a silo recovers from cold weather :

Metal bins and concrete silos provide sufficient insulation which should normally prevent the formation of frost on the grain surface and inside the bulk. However, when ambient temperature increases again and sunlight hits the silo walls, condensation of frozen moisture particles becomes certain. With the sudden increase in bulk temperature, pockets of humid air rise inside the grain mass and get trapped under layers of dockage (broken kernels). The most problematic areas are usually right underneath the top surface of the grain.

The problem with PVC liners and grain bags:

Using plastic liners over grain piles, or even enclosing grain in hermetic bags (cocoons) is  known to protect the product from many perils including rain, snow and frost. But problems may arise with the advent of warmer and sunny weather. The layer right underneath the liner can develop condensation quickly, leading to increased moisture and risk for development of mold and fungi.

What you can do to prevent grain from spoiling:

  • Use aeration fans. Regulating fresh air flow inside the grain mass will prevent or delay the formation of moisture hotspots when the weather is warmer again.
  • Inspect areas under liners and the covers of grain bags. These are the suspect areas for condensation and formation of spoilage hotspots. Weekly inspections are recommended.
  • Centaur provides advanced wireless grain sensors. These are battery-operated and easy to install in grain bins, ground piles and grain bags. Leveraging the predictive analytics showcased in the video above, you can enjoy full coverage and receive early warnings for spoilage incidents on your smartphone. This technology can give you peace of mind, save you from tedious inspection routines, and defend you against costly and wasteful problems.