“The big changes are the big size,” says Dr. Ken Hellevang of North Dakota State University as he addresses the evolution of grain storage. “We went from storing wheat in bins that might be 3,000 bushel capacity to, now, we’re storing a multitude of crops in bins that might be 50,000 bushel capacity.” Since getting his Ph.D. from North Dakota State University in 1989, Hellevang is now a registered professional engineer specializing in grain drying, storage, and handling.
During the Diversity, Direction, and Dollars Ag Forum in Dickinson, North Dakota this past week, Hellevang told the crowd, that they’ve seen technology growing in the area of grain storage just as it has in other areas of farming. So what if your grain bin isn’t taking advantage of the latest?
According to Hellevang, they’ve seen a retrofit of existing grain bins as time and technology has progressed. The majority of bins now are put up with a full perforated floor. This is a strategy that Hellevang says can be put into an existing bin. It’s just one example of modifying a bin in order to make use of the best practices that we know today.
Agriculture is also changing and the crops that we’re storing are becoming much more diverse. “Each one is a little bit different,” said Hellevang of storing different crops. While the fundamentals are the same, the numbers will be different when it comes to temperatures, moisture toleration, storage depth, and time.
What has worked for your wheat crop might not be the best if bringing in a pulse crop or venturing into corn. Air flow is going to be different and it’s important to select a fan that will perform as you need it to. In other areas, he says to use discipline. In some instances, you may be able to completely fill a bin with sunflowers but, if filling it with corn, you may want to leave the bin partially empty. For the latest recommendations on grain storage, contact your local extension office.
© Northern Ag Network 2015