Grain Storage without Drying

Drought across Europe and a stronger Euro caused 2003 wheat to rise to 80 per ton ex combine for clean dry samples - some 15+/t above 2002

Grain for conventional storage over 6 months should be Max 16% moisture - preferably 14.5% and kept cool - below 15 and preferably 10C. At 18% moisture store for a maximum 6 months and keep cool with low volume ventilation fans. Linseed should be below 10% moisture - preferably 7%.
There are EC laws governing the max permissible levels of fungal toxins = mycotoxins eg Aflatoxin and Ochretoxin in milk.  Poor storage  encourages the development of storage aflatoxins.  Expensive additives or inoculants used at inappropriate moisture or storage environments place the cows liver and several bulk tanks worth of milk at risk.

Crimping by roller is simple,  for all cereals - but generally not pulses.  Acids or inoculants work to a degree, but the cost is expensive - up to 23 per ton of Dry Matter. Feedout rates must be very fast in summer - preferably one foot per day. Recent developments with whole grain treatment with Urea, Innoculant (Biograin), and the Forage processor mill  for ground grain (not Corn Cracker) offer realistic alternatives.  The lowest cost least technically demanding is Urea treatment and is a direct replacement for Caustic Treated Grain.  With a good water supply 25 tons per hour can be processed for storage up to a year under plastic with minimal vermin damage at 1t/ processing and 3 materials costs.

Barley at 8 price advantage to wheat should preferably be bought in dry - but as with wheat it can be bought in damp for either caustic or urea treatment using the Diet Feeder as a whole grain processor.  Wheat is not superior to Barley for beef finishing / replacement rearing.
Alkalage as in ground High Moisture ear grains  is possible - for all cereal crops using the forage harvester  processing mill and Home n' dry - pricey from Volac.  Urea + Urease enzyme + water needs investigating as a lower cost alternative.  Straight urea does not work on crimped and forage processor milled samples.
Prilled Urea treatment of whole grain adds protein and is the lowest net cost of all treatment schedules. Pests and vermin do not like - unlike crimped and dry materials. Urea treated can be clamped outside under a plastic pasty well tyred. In the straw barn - if concrete base store straw over the sheeted urea or caustic treated samples. Use a woven sheet over the plastic to prevent pricking and damage to the plastic during the curing process.
Caustic treated samples can last 3-6 months and urea treated well over 6 months.

Urea treatment of wheat is the cheapest way of preserving grain at high moisture and providing additional protein 

See trial with beef fed Urea Treated Grain
See trial with Lambs fed Urea Treated Grain
See Treatment Table for Urea Treated Wheat
See SAC Pictures of Clamps 
See SBC Pictures of treated wheat pre and post soaking
Assess Maximum Whole seeds in Dung
For dairy cows & beef the product can be fed whole BUT must be wetted to reach as close to 30% moisture at treatment if dry, and further wetted up to 2 days at Feedout.  This is best achieved with a Diet Feeder borrowed pre clamping.  At Feedout the grain can be soaked via bucket or Diet Feeder.
To ensure maximum crop yield,  harvest when the grain is mature in the region of 25-35% DM - harvesting at higher moistures in a green straw crop will result in significant yield loss. 
Add 25kg of Urea per ton of wheat (3%of Dry Matter for wheat but 4% DM for Barley) at 30-35% DM - but see treatment table Most use fertiliser UREA - but for absolute safety - feed grade is advised.
Leave 6-8 weeks before feeding for the ammonia to preserve and combine with the wheat to form true protein.
Protein levels will be lower than those described below due to some escape of ammonia gas.
DO NOT ROLL OR CRIMP THE SAMPLE at any time during the treatment and clamping process 
See U.Wisconsin evaluation of Buchneri

Commercial dry Ammonia treatment is known to reduce field mould and store mould toxins (mycotoxins) - in particular Aflatoxin (liver damage - cancer) so we would anticipate some level of mycotoxin reduction.

Urea treated wheat is unpalatable when not fed in a TMR.
PROVIDING the grain is wetted beyond 30% moisture at Feedout there should be little difference in feed efficiency in dairy cattle between caustic soda and urea treated samples


Buying in ex combine grain


Deduct 1 per point for Low Bushel Weight - Standard is 72 for Wheat and 63 for Barley Commercial Buyers do not accept below 68 for wheat 58 for barley
Screenings / weed seeds: Commercial Buyers deduct 5/t for cleaning and weight loss. Do not buy ergot contaminated samples or heavily infested with weed seed - ie over 1-2% - particularly mayweed. 
Damp grain NEVER buy mouldered - use the table 



Key messages: for conventional storage.

Standards are rising and more attention must be given to preventing problems in store.
Pests are more difficult than ever to control with pesticides and more emphasis must be placed on cooling and drying grain to reduce pest risk.
Store grain cool (under 10C) and dry (cereals at 14.5% moisture content and oilseeds at 7%). Monitor grain weekly for temperature changes and pest presence.
Don't stop cooling too early - the cooler the better for longer term storage.

Q. Why are pests becoming more important in relation to storing grain?

A. Firstly, the market now demands complete freedom from any pests and, with low grain prices, standard terms are strictly enforced. Secondly, many stores have been registered under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme and will be subject to inspection to meet the scheme's objectives. And thirdly, the majority of pests but especially mites and rodents are significantly more difficult to control using the pesticides that we have successfully used over many years.

Q. Why are these pests becoming more difficult to control?

A. There is increasing resistance in many beetle and mite populations to the organophosphate pesticides currently approved for admixture with grain (Figure 1). Most of these have been on the scene for some 30 years. Levels of resistance, particularly in storage mites, have risen to such levels that control of established pests is not possible, even with a very effectively applied treatment. Finally, while some rodent populations can survive after eating large quantities of anticoagulant bait, there is also strong evidence that behavioural resistance in some populations is contributing to control failures

Q. Why are mites seen as so important now?

A. Storage mites are strongly allergenic and there is currently great concern about food intolerances and allergic reactions. While a study of cereal-based foodstuffs purchased from retail outlets showed mites were present in 1 in 5 products sampled, the general infestation level was very low (at 1 mite per 20g of sample - or the equivalent of 75 in a household bag of flour). However, some samples contained very large mite numbers - in one sample of cereal Rusk baby food, nearly 400 mites per 20g were present.

Q. Is there any evidence that they can cause harm?

A. Mite allergens have been linked to the steady rise in asthmatic problems in this country, which have to date remain unexplained. Killing mites present in a foodstuff is not the answer, as mites constitute an allergenic challenge even when dead. Mites have probably always been present in foodstuffs, but it is possible that other environmental factors are predisposing people to react to storage mites in their diet. Finally, early results from a clinical trial show that more atopic individuals in the Manchester area reacted to storage mite allergens than to house dust mite allergens - and we are all aware of the media attention that house dust mites attract.

Q. What can be done to prevent problems with insect and mite pests in stored grain?

A. The best - cheapest and most effective - answer is to cool and dry the grain to prevent pests developing Insects do not generally breed below 15C and mites will not survive cereal moisture contents of 14.5% or lower (7% mc on oilseed). Ensure that grain is dried and cooled as quickly as possible to these levels. However, the cooler the grain becomes, the less the risk of any pest problems developing (remember there is a 15C maximum for grain going into intervention). For longer-term storage in this country, 5C should be the target by the year-end. With the right equipment, this is a very cheap strategy costing only around 10 pence per tonne of grain for the energy required (or 5 pence per tonne if you have access to low tariff electricity and can blow at night) (Figure 4). A differential thermostat ensures the most efficient use of electricity