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Grain bins need careful attention for longer storage

September 30, 2018

Due to uncertainty in the markets, along with high grain yields, on-farm grain storage may be a bigger issue this year than usual.

Extension engineer with North Dakota State University Dr. Ken Hellevang said bin condition is critical, especially if grain will be stored into spring or summer of next year.

Cleanliness, insect control and properly operating equipment are all vital. In some cases, producers do not have the storage space they need and are considering alternative storage.

Hellevang said a thorough cleaning is important, including aeration ductwork, removing foreign material and looking for indications of insect infestations. Many bins have a subfloor area that is difficult to access, and may not be able to be cleaned thoroughly.

He advised producers to consider whether they had an insect infestation in the bin in the previous year. If so, insects are probably present and alive in those areas, so he recommended fumigating the empty bin.

Whether or not the bin is fumigated, Hellevang recommended spraying an insecticide on the interior walls to keep insects from entering.

There’s more discussion than usual this year of storing grain into the next year, Hellevang said, increasing the risks of grain going out of condition. If grain will be stored for a long period, he recommended applying a grain protectant insecticide on the grain, according to labeling instructions, as it is going into the bin.

Keeping water out is important too, said Hellevang. Check the roof and other areas for leaks and make sure seals are in place and in good condition.

Finally, run any equipment associated with the bin: conveyors, aeration fans, etc., to make sure they operate properly and are in good condition, and lubricate equipment according to manufacturers’ instructions.

Hellevang said some producers may not have the bin space they need, and are considering alternative storage including bags, grain piles and covers.

A guide is available discussing those options and other grain storage considerations at ag.ndsu.edu/alerts/soybean-storage/consider-pros-cons-of-alternative-grain-storage-methods.

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