Maintaining grain quality after harvest is paramount to protecting your investment when it’s time to go to market. Grain quality is determined by several factors: moisture content, bulk density, kernel size, kernel hardness, vitreousness, kernel density, damaged kernels, fungal infection, mycotoxins, insects and mites and their fragments, foreign material, odor, dust, milling yield, oil content, protein content, starch content and viability. Although grain quality can be impacted by several different risk factors, damage will typically occur during either handling or storage. You can mitigate these risks through the implementation of best practices and innovative technology.

Each time grain is handled, you run the risk of damaging the kernel. Quality can be compromised at any stage of this process. The best way to minimize grain damage is to minimize the number of times the grain is handled. Try to identify inefficiencies in your handling process and look for opportunities to minimize that risk. Another way to improve grain quality is to utilize less abrasive handling equipment. For example, a metal auger will cause more physical damage to grain than a chain and paddle system. If you are seeing a lot of cracked kernels, it may be time to explore alternative handling options.

Decreased grain quality due to improper storage can include rot, spoilage and insect damage, to name a few. Your storage system can have a huge impact on your ability to properly maintain grain quality, for example, sloped floor bins are more difficult to manage than bins with aeration floors. Regardless of your storage system, the best way to mitigate the risks associated with grain storage is to regularly monitor conditions inside the bin. Monitoring grain inside a bin poses its own risks, primarily concerning worker safety. To avoid these hazards, we recommend utilizing grain monitoring technology.

Remote grain monitoring systems, such as GSI’s Bullseye Bin Controller, automatically monitor a range of conditions including moisture, temperature and CO2 levels, and can automatically activate fans to regulate optimum conditions. This allows grain producers the ability to closely monitor grain quality with fewer trips up the bin ladder.

As new technologies develop and improve, producers will have more control over their stored grain and handling systems. No matter what equipment you’re using, the first step to improving grain quality is identifying areas of risk in your grain system.

To learn more about how you can improve your grain quality with handling and storage equipment from Deerfield Ag Services, check out our equipment page or give us a call at 330-584-4715.