According to a recent Purdue University agriculture news release, producers who still have corn grain in storage from last growing season need to begin closely monitoring its condition as temperatures rise and threats increase.
While the cold winter most likely kept mold and insect problems at a minimum, the warming temperatures of spring increases both dangers. Close monitoring is encouraged for corn that was stored at moisture contents higher than 15% and the release notes that grain stored at levels of 17-18% or higher is at even greater risk.
Klein Ileleji, Associate Professor and Extension Engineer in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University, said in the release, "For those who couldn't dry corn to 15 percent in the fall but stored at 17-18 percent, the warm spring temperature offers the opportunity to dry to a safe storage moisture using natural air, in-bin systems. Farmers need to begin to implement natural air drying immediately if they haven't started already."
Natural air, or ambient, in-bin drying can be used to dry corn with up to 20% moisture in the spring, according to Ileleji. An airflow rate of 1-2 cubic feet per minute per bushel should be used and drying should be started when air temperatures are between 40 and 60 degrees and humidity is in the 55-75% range. Ileleji also offered a few grain storage tips including using a grain probe to check for signs of spoilage on the surface and at various depths up to six feet.
Protecting last year’s stored corn grain should come to the forefront of producers’ agendas as spring arrives and temperatures rise, increasing the chance of spoilage and loss of grain.