Tricounty News

Field conditions contribute to grain storage risk

Regional Extension Educator Liz Stahl at Worthington recently shared sources of information about grain harvest and storage strategies related to variable moisture and maturity conditions in fields.

Cleaning bins and harvest equipment is an important task. Insects that create problems for grain in storage are insects that harbor in old grain and crop residue in harvest equipment and in and around grain bins. So Liz suggests that we should thoroughly clean out bins and all grain handling equipment such as combines, trucks and grain wagons, to remove any insect-infested grain and debris. In empty bins, thoroughly sweep or brush down all surfaces, including the walls, ceilings, ledges, rafters, braces, and handling equipment. Seal any holes or cracks. Remove all debris and vegetation growing within 10 feet of the bin, and apply a residual herbicide as needed to control any weedy plants around the bin.


Once the bin is thoroughly cleaned out, a residual insecticide such as Tempo, malation, Diacon, or Storicide II can be applied to the point of runoff on all surfaces, two to three weeks before new grain is placed in the bin. Use recommended protective safety equipment and follow recommended safety practices if working with insecticides in or around grain bins. The “2013 North Dakota Field Crop Insect Management Guide” provides further information on insecticides registered for stored grains.

You can also do a website search for “Purdue Stored Grain Insect Pest Management” for more information about preventive measures before, during, and after putting grain in the bin. You’re also welcome to call the county Extension office for information that is helpful to you.

Soybean harvest issues

Ken Hellevang, Extension Engineer with North Dakota State University, offered information recently related harvest practices and variability in soybean fields.

Some farmers are combining parts of fields that are brown and dry for harvest and leaving green patches in the field. That’s easier to do with soybeans than with corn; but might fit some corn situations too. Where selective harvesting works, it makes for more uniform conditions in drying and storage.

Field losses, splits and cracked seed coats increase as moisture content decreases. Shatter losses have been shown to increase significantly when seed moisture falls below 13 percent and when mature beans undergo multiple wetting and drying cycles. Hellevang recommends that producers try to harvest as much of their crop as possible before the moisture level falls below 11 to 13 percent. Harvesting during high humidity or damp conditions may reduce shatter loss.

It is uncertain whether green soybeans will change color in storage. Limited studies indicate that green soybeans will tend to stay green in storage. They do not lose their internal green color. The surface color may lighten or mottle somewhat after weeks or months in storage. Field losses need to be balanced against the discounts for green seeds in deciding when to harvest.

Soybean moisture variation also may lead to storage and marketing losses. Operating an aeration fan will help move moisture from wet beans to drier beans. Air going past wet beans picks up moisture, and that moisture will transfer to drier beans as the air goes past them.

Moisture movement will be minimal without aeration airflow past the beans. Hellevang suggests running the fan longer than is required to cool the grain to even out the moisture content. The moisture will not equalize, but it will become more uniform.

An Iowa State Reference suggests for winter storage, store commercial soybeans at 13 percent moisture or less, 12 percent or less for up to one year, and 11 percent or less for more than one year.

For more information, do an Internet search for NDSU soybean drying or NDSU corn drying. And in Stearns, Benton and Morrison Counties you’re welcome to call the County Extension Office for assistance in getting the information: in Stearns County a local call to
St. Cloud at (320) 255-6169, or (800) 450-6171, in Benton a local call to Foley at (320) 968-5077, or (800) 964-4929, in Morrison a local call to Little Falls at (320) 632-0161, or (866) 401-1111.

Please make SAFETY a PRIORITY through the harvest season.