Grain storage and drying issues

With high yields and low prices in 2016, farmers may be looking for additional storage for this year’s crop.

Storage management

The basics of grain storage, drying, management and care.

Grain storage management

Joseph Zulovich lays out a basic framework for drying and storing grain in Grain Storage: A Systematic Approach ( Zulovich is an Extension Agricultural Engineer in the Commercial Agricultural Program and Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering.

For more information on the storage, handling and management of grain, see the MU Extension presentation On-Farm Grain Storage and Drying Considerations (PDF) (, and visit MU Extension publications:

The MidWest Plan Service (MWPS) also provides additional publications on grain storage and management (, including a publication on Managing and Designing Bunker and Trench Silos (PDF) ( The MWPS disseminates research-based information that supports the outreach missions of the 12 North Central Region land-grant universities plus the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

North Dakota State University, Long-term Grain Storage Requires Good Management, (


The Bin Drying Estimator (XLSX) ( can estimate the time required to dry corn or soybeans stored in a circular bin using either natural air or low-temperature drying practices. The tool estimates the time to dry a wet grain volume or a wet grain layer on top of dry grain.

The Missouri Crop Resource Guide ( lists helpful information on grain drying and storage, including grain bin and storage cost, the economic returns of grain drying, and grain shrinkage and moisture.

The University of Missouri Commercial Agriculture Program's Horizon Point ( functions to make precise weather information available to Missouri farmers in an effort to assist with their daily business. The program has information on grain drying ( and offers an example grain drying report (

For more information on drying grain, visit MU Extension publications:

Dangers and pests

MU Extension news releases:

MU Fire and Rescue Training Institute (MUFRTI), Basic Grain Engulfment Rescue class

MU Extension publication PS29, Grain Molds and Vertebrate Storage Pests (

MU Extension publication PS28, Stored Grain Insects (

MU Extension 101, Grain Bin Safety

Farm Stored Grain ( by Wayne Bailey, state extension entomologist.

Ear and Kernel Rots of Corn ( by Laura Sweets, plant pathologist.

Temporary storage

The Grain Volume Estimator (XLSX) ( can quickly calculate the quantity of grain that can be stored in a number of different facilities. Stored grain volumes can be calculated for standard circular bins, rectangular flat storage buildings and a variety of different pile configurations.

Kansas State University publication MF2362, Temporary Grain Storage Considerations (PDF) (

North Dakota State University publication AE84, Temporary Grain Storage (PDF) (

For more information on considerations for temporary grain storage, see Temporary Grain Storage Piles ( by Joseph Zulovich.

For information on using bags for storage, see Considerations for Bagged Storage ( by Joseph Zulovich.

Alternative storage

With high yields, many farmers are looking for alternate methods for storing a surplus of product. The links below offer varied options for choosing different storage methods.

Storage locator

The Agricultural Electronic Bulletin Board (AgEBB) has its own Grain Storage ( page, which provides space to either list storage that you are not using or find available storage if you need. Per the AgEBB site: 

Farmers looking for storage facilities could search for available facilities in the region of Missouri where they have needs. If a satisfactory match occurs, it is the responsibility of the farmer to contact the owner of the storage facilities and initiate a rental arrangement. They could also enter a listing describing their need for storage.

Persons with storage can access the listing and search for any farmers who have entered needs for storage. If a satisfactory match occurs, it is the responsibility of the storage owner to contact the farmer and initiate a rental arrangement. Storage owners can also enter a listing describing their available storage.

The listings include names, cities, counties, phone numbers and types of grain storage. People can search for available storage, storage requested or both. Storage types include: bin storage with aeration, bin storage without aeration, flat storage with aeration, flat storage without aeration and other. A final area for notes catches information such as 'easy access to blacktop,' 'auger and dryer available for use,' and 'call after 6 p.m."

To list available storage, visit

To find available storage, visit

Grain storage webinar

On Sept. 8, 2014, regional specialists participated in a webinar on the grain storage issues predicted following this year's near-record yield. The specialists covered harvesting, drying and storing of grain in several in-depth presentations.

North Dakota State University, AgWeb, Farm Journal Media and DICKEY-john presented the "Importance of Accurate Grain Moisture Analysis" webinar on Sept. 8, 2016. The webinar pinpointed the four most common applications for grain moisture measurements, and highlighted how the type of moisture measurement can affect overall efficiency and profitability.

Reviewed Tuesday, October 4, 2016