Recently, the University of Illinois Extension provided tips for preserving grain quality during harvest, which is a concern for many producers.
First, the extension notes that it is important to adjust combine settings appropriately to minimize grain damage and fines, as both fines and damaged kernels are prone to mold growth and insects. Experts also recommend continuing to check field losses throughout the harvest to make sure that their speed and equipment is adjusted accordingly.
Next, the extension stresses the importance of examining the particular field that will be harvested before the process begins. This will give producers one last opportunity to hone in on weeds in addition to signs of insect damage and disease. Areas of the field that have mold issues should be avoided to ensure that damaged grain is not mixed with the healthy grain during harvest.
Clean grain should always be stored separately from damaged or contaminated grain. Any remaining grain from the previous year’s harvest should be consolidated into a separate bin, as well.
Finally, the harvested grain should be stored at the appropriate moisture content. This will depend on the period of time producers intend to store the grain, the storage temperature, and the initial quality of the grain itself. The grain should be continuously checked for temperature and moisture content bi-weekly throughout the fall, and once a month in the winter.
More information can be found by contacting Jesse Soule, commercial agriculture educator at the University of Illinois Extension at firstname.lastname@example.org.