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Safe Storage of Grain Harvested in Hot Conditions

Grain that was harvested in 30 degrees Celsius conditions can create problems during storage even if the grain was dry. After the bin is filled, grain closer to the walls cool whereas grain in the centre of the bin remains warm. Convection air currents develop which circulates moisture from the outer areas into the centre of the bin. The moisture accumulates in the upper centre part of the bin. Grain can heat and spoil in this area.

If interior bin temperatures remain high into late fall, humidity within the space between the grain and roof of the bin can be high. Over night, when temperatures fall, moisture can condense on the inside of the roof and then rains onto the top surface of the grain. The wet grain can sprout and form a layer of spoilage.

The Canadian Grain Commission has developed charts that indicate the safe storage interval for different grains. Prevent spoilage ( For example, barley harvested at 16% moisture and storage temperatures greater than 15 degrees Celsius has the potential to spoil within six months. Binning grain at higher temperatures and moisture further reduces the safe storage period.

To prevent problems associated with heated grain, check bins on a regular basis. If monitoring equipment is not available, inserting steel rods into the bin both at the bottom door and at the top of the bin is recommended. Check the rods on a weekly basis if possible.

When grain is needed to feed livestock, remove a load from each bin to get an idea of grain condition. This removes grain from the top of the bin which has greater risk of spoiling due to high moisture content.

For additional information about feeding grain to livestock, contact Barry at 403-741-6032 or


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