Linda Geist

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Raise the temperature and run fans in grain bins now to avoid condensation and mold.

Keep your stored grain in condition by increasing the temperature inside the bin to the outside monthly average temperature in May, says University of Missouri Extension entomologist Wayne Bailey.

Grain usually is stored at 60 degrees or cooler during winter. When outside temperatures rise in the spring, condensation can form on walls inside the bin. Moisture from condensation causes mold and attracts insects.

Monitor stored grains for pests. Increase visual checks to twice a month from May to October from the roof access door. Grain stored over the winter is usually checked only monthly from November to April.

Clumped grain and a sour smell indicate moisture and out-of-condition grain. Webbing on the grain’s surface signals the presence of insect larvae, adult beetles or moths.

The grain’s surface and central core are most at risk of infestation. Bailey advises against breaking the grain surface. Breaks disturb the protective cap of insecticide applied in the fall and create an opening for insects.

Bailey also recommends monitoring the interior of the grain mass. Check insect types and numbers by using the side access panel to insert plastic tube traps, probe traps and sticky pheromone traps.

If traps are unavailable, use a grain probe to look at and gather grain. Use deep probes to collect grain from several locations in the bin. Collect a quart of grain in a glass jar, plastic bag or other clear container that allows you to look at the grain.

Place the containers in a warm area to warm the grain to at least 60 degrees or higher to stimulate insect activity. Bailey says there are no reliable thresholds for most insects found in stored grains, but grain should be used or treated quickly before insect activity diminishes quality.