Managing soybeans doesn’t end with combining. If you have stored them on-farm, you need to continue to manage them.
As the winter weather continues to bring colder-than-usual temperatures, growers should take the time to monitor the quality of soybeans stored on-farm. With below-freezing temperatures for an extended period, followed by warmer temperatures; storage facilities may experience condensation which can lead to grain storage issues.
Fall 2017 harvest conditions led to extremely dry soybeans at harvest, and grain moisture in the single digits. It is recommended that soybeans be stored at 13 percent or lower moisture and in 2017, most soybeans went into storage at or below this moisture. After two to three months of varying temperatures, growers should monitor stored soybeans to see if conditions deteriorated with any noticeable crusting and or mold in the grain mass and particularly in the center of the bin.
Another challenge during 2017 harvest was green stems and immature pods, which was a result of disease and poor environmental conditions. If immature pods or seeds remained in the grain tank and wound up in storage, they can accumulate in pockets and provide enough moisture for storage molds to develop. If the number of green pods or seeds is relatively low in a grain mass, they typically do not cause issues, unless the remaining grain moisture is too high.
With today’s grain bin technology, you can hang temperature thermometers and moisture probes from the roof of the bin and monitor conditions while assessing risk. With today’s technology, you can also install devices inside of grain bins to record temperature and moisture and easily monitor conditions from the convenience of a smartphone.
Depending on individual grain storage systems, it is important to use proper safety measures when taking grain samples and monitoring stored grain. If grain was leveled following harvest and dried and cooled, bins should still be monitored weekly to avoid problems and grain spoilage.
It is suggested to take multiple probes throughout the bin or pull samples from an arm’s depth if a grain probe is not available. Keeping the grain samples separate for moisture testing will help determine if a problem exists. When grain storage issues develop it is best to consider moving the grain rather than risk continued quality deterioration. No one prefers the alternative of removing rotten beans from a bin in the heat of the summer.
In South Central Illinois Basset and her family raise corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle. She is also a Sales Representative with Pioneer®. She has worked as an agronomist in Illinois with DuPont Pioneer and with the University of Illinois Extension as an Educator. Bassett serves on the Illinois CCA board and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in Crop Sciences. She enjoys working with growers to determine ways to improve crop productivity.