With excess grain stored, low prices, and a so-far relatively short winter, we are setting up for bigger potential storage losses while the grain waits to be marketed. This is a good time to review steps for protecting both your safety and your grain stores.
Most important: Protect your safety
Grain that goes out of condition may clump together, resulting in bridging, and uneven or reduced grain flow. Farmers in a hurry to fill a truck may enter a grain bin thinking they simply have to clear an obstruction, only to become caught in shifting grain. STOP and think before you enter! Even a seemingly small amount of grain can cause problems. Now is the time to review your procedures for safely entering grain bins. Understanding how to avoid getting caught in the grain and how to get help in the case of entrapment can prevent unnecessary tragedies:
- Caught in the grain, a publication from North Dakota State University, describes the three different ways a person can become trapped in grain and offers safety precautions to avoid accidents and rescue procedures if an accident does occur.
- Grain bin safety, a video from Purdue University, discusses cases of entrapment and safety tips.
Protect your grain
Regular monitoring of grain during these cold months will help maintain grain quality and weight. Monitoring will also help you avoid costly dockage or load rejection issues. Inspect and probe for crusting, pockets of high moisture and heating, and insect infestations. Sit down and prepare a schedule for when you want to check storage conditions. For more information, see the following resources:
- Maximize grain quality and profits using S.L.A.M. (Sanitation, Loading, Aeration, and Monitoring, Purdue University
- Grain drying and storage, North Dakota State University website
- Managing stored grain to minimize storage losses, University of Minnesota
- Stored grain insect pest management, Purdue University
- Grain storage systems and management, Purdue University website
Protect yourself and your investment this winter with sound grain bin safety practices and regular grain monitoring. Starting now will greatly benefit you in the future.