One of the most crucial aspects of storing grain is keeping it dry and at a cool, uniform temperature to prevent moisture and condensation. Farmers have a better chance of reducing moisture and preventing spoilage and infestation when they use an aeration system.
Read below to learn why your grain storage structure should have an aeration system.
What Is Grain Storage Aeration?
Aeration pushes small volumes of air through the grain in a bin or other storage structure to help cool and ventilate the grain. While it may sound like drying—and while both generally perform the same function of cooling and drying grain—aeration is not the same as grain drying.
Grain drying refers to forcefully and rapidly moving heated air through the storage structure to quickly reduce moisture content. Aeration provides a more continual, consistent flow of air throughout the structure to equalize the temperature of the material and the storage structure to avoid condensation.
Why Does Stored Grain Need Aeration?
The primary reason for aeration in grain storage is the same for drying—to keep moisture out of grain bins. Experts estimate that there’s about a 10 percent loss of grain between harvest and consumption, and about half of that occurs during storage due to spoiling from moisture.
Aeration keeps the grain and the temperature in the structure consistent and uniform. Aeration is also one of the best ways to deal with pests in grain storage. When condensation and moisture produce and spread in grain bins, they can attract and produce:
These are nightmares that can quickly ruin thousands of bushels of grain in storage.
How Do Farmers Aerate Stored Grain?
Farmers use various methods to aerate stored grain, but the right method depends on the shape and size of the structure storing the grain. One effective aeration method is to use perforated floors to distribute air evenly throughout the grain.
But perforated floors aren’t always possible in grain storage structures, so another favored method is to install ducts at the bottom of bins. They’re more affordable but can be just as effective. Some grain management systems even use vertical aerators—large poles plunged into the middle of the grain to distribute air through the center of the grain pile.
Now you should understand why you should have aeration for your grain storage structure! If you want to ensure your grain remains dry and cool, take the necessary steps to guarantee your grain storage is properly aerated.