A strong post-harvest strategy can make or break a successful season.
Unpredictable weather has increased the need to ventilate and cool of stored crops – but this is only half the battle. A suitable control system to drive temperatures down as fast as possible is equally as important.
With more than 45 years’ experience in grain storage technology, crop storage specialists Martin Lishman have developed a wide range of products to support farmers in their on-going battle to preserve grain quality while reducing energy costs.
Keeping a close eye on the condition of stored crops is critical. The company’s innovations include the award-winning Barn Owl Wireless automatic crop monitoring system, the crop cooling Pile-Dry system and FloorVent Pedestals and Fans.
Here are Martin Lishman’s top five post-harvest tips.
1 Temperature monitoring is key
High temperatures can cause deterioration of grain very quickly, so it is essential to monitor the crop to ensure the temperature is consistent throughout the store and grain quality is maintained. Martin Lishman offers systems to monitor stored grain for a range of budgets, including the MiniTemp hand-held temperature monitor, its new Bluetooth brother, MiniTemp Blue, and Barn Owl Wireless, the fully automatic wireless monitoring and automatic fan control system.
2 Automatic fan control
An automatic fan controller can bring with it many benefits. Automatically turning on and off cooling fans to make the best use of ambient air conditions ensures the fastest cooling possible but can also save at least 40% of energy costs. Plus, there is the added bonus of reducing trips to the store to manually turn fans on and off, or simply avoiding forgetting to do so.
3 Additional fans
One of the simplest ways to improve the effectiveness of a pedestal cooling system is to use more fans. It is not uncommon to swap fans between pedestals when required, but this slows down the cooling process and requires more frequent temperature checks. Using one fan per pedestal ensures the cooling power is instantly available when needed and significantly reduces the possibility of hot spots in the grain or forgetting to move fans around.
4 Hot spot spears
Martin Lishman screw-in Trouble-Dry aeration spears tackle hot spots by simply screwing the spear into the heap and using one of their high output green fans to suck cool air out of the affected area. They are ideal for a last-minute cooling solution.
5 Consistent quality control
The challenge of achieving the highest quality grain relies on more than just good ventilation. Making sure the store is fit for purpose and carrying out regular assessments can help identify problems before it’s too late.
Use insect traps to detect the presence of insects, sampling spears to cater for crop moisture testing or lorry load profile sampling, ambient air measurement devices and accurate moisture meters.
For more on post-harvest, read “Five-point checklist reduces post-harvest maize losses”.