With the wide fluctuations in temperatures this winter, you want to keep a close eye on stored grain, says Mark Rosenberg, an SDSU Extension educator.
He advises looking for "red-flag symptoms" that can mean trouble for grain quality.
"We want to be watching for any appearance of crusting developing on the surface or any moldy smells coming from the bin. A real easy one to pick up on is condensation on the roof which means the grain is warm."
You can also probe each grain mass to various depths checking for signs of heating or insects. Rosenberg also suggests taking moisture readings.
"If you do take moisture readings, you want to make sure you take the sample into a warm area, and allow to sit for a time before taking a moisture reading, because if you take it from a cold sample it tends to be inaccurate so you need to warm the grain up to know exactly what the moisture level of the grain is at that time," he says.
Check bins each month during the cold months of year.
Moving into spring, check grain bins every two weeks or more often.
If any problems are evident, get air moving in the bin with aeration fans, or remove and sell the grain or feed it to livestock. Fumigation by a professional would be a last resort for saving grain quality.
"It's critical that if you do see something, you act as quickly as possible," he says.Source: SDSU