Aeration is key to achieving the best grain condition, avoiding spoilage and improving your bottom line, but it’s also often a point of confusion and frustration. This is because the process itself isn’t the same for every storage system. 

Many farmers and grain handlers have learned their current methods from generations of experience, along with trial and error. But even with experience, you could be losing money without even realizing it.  

Below are five questions we hear and answers to help improve your grain aeration setup. 

I just need a fan on my bin, right?

Not necessarily. Depending on your end goal and grain type(s), your specifications and needs will be different. 

  1. Is the bin for long-term storage, short-term storage or is it a backup system?
  2. Are you drying separately in the bin? 

If you’re storing long-term or working with wet grain, you likely need more than just a fan to ensure the best grain condition. For example, exhaust fans and temperature cables are suggested if you’re storing long-term. If you’re not sure, give us a call. We aren’t here to sell you things you don’t need; our goal is to help you find what you need or should do to keep your grain in good condition.  

Does it matter what fan I get?

Definitely! The fan you need depends on the bin width and height, the grain being stored and how you’re using the bin. These will help determine the airflow, static pressure and the fan needs. From there, it’s all math using the following three variables: 

  1. CFM – Amount of air
  2. Static Pressure – The resistance in the atmosphere
  3. HP – Horsepower required to push the air through the environment

The more air you shove into an environment, the more resistant the environment is to air. If you want an example, grab a paper towel roll and blow through it, then grab a coffee stir stick and try to blow the same amount of air through – you get the same amount of air but one will blow your eardrums out.

Why do I need to monitor the temperature of the grain?

The inside of a grain bin is like its own ecosystem – understanding that interior climate is the first step to proper storage and aeration. 

Let’s pretend you have a 60,000-bushel bin full of corn. At $5 per bushel, that’s $300,000. Can you imagine putting $300,000 in cash in a bin and not checking on it regularly? We’d guess not! 

Experts at Purdue University recommend checking your grain weekly during fall and spring, when outside temperatures are changing rapidly, as well as in the summer when high temperatures can have big impacts inside your bins. 

Using temperature cables and a temperature monitoring system allows you to watch a weather front move through your bin so that you can feel confident in your grain condition. 

If the grain is cool and I turn on the fans when the weather changes, isn’t that enough?

Not necessarily. Aeration isn’t something you should ever take a guess on because spoilage isn’t the only concern. Over-conditioning grain will cost you money as well, which happens often when you’re guessing when the fans should be on or off. If you have 10,000 bushels at 18% moisture and you shave two points off your moisture, it will remove 200 bushels from what you placed in that bin. At $5 per bushel, that’s a loss of $1,000!  

Won’t this just cost me more money?

Still not sure if you need to keep tabs on your grain bin climate? Let’s do a little math: 

A grain setup storing 730,000 bushels of corn at $7.60/bushel is storing $5 million. 

For less than a penny per bushel of grain stored, you can install SafeTrack and enjoy automated temperature monitoring and know that the exhaust fans in your bins will kick on when needed.

Call us today at 800-659-8250 if you want to learn more or have questions that we didn’t cover.