The surging Australian dollar in combination with widespread rain across NSW is expected to lift production levels of several crops and grain prices are likely to sharply decline.
With these conditions in play, The Land connected with Australian grain storage specialist Phil Nixon from Protector Grain Systems, who says now is a good time to consider storing grain, utilising reliable storage systems and technology, until prices rise back up.
"Good grain storage technologies give growers more harvest flexibility and create opportunities to hold onto your grain until it's a better time to sell - based on quality or market decisions. With a little help, maintaining the quality of stored grain is something that all growers can manage," Phil says.
He says automatic grain aeration systems have come a long way in the last 10-years and monitoring and protecting the quality of your grain isn't as complicated as it used to be.
Automatic grain aeration systems have come a long way in the last 10-years and monitoring and protecting the quality of your grain isn't as complicated as it used to be.
"While a lot of growers want to believe that drying grain without an automatic grain aeration system will work. It will, over a long period of time, but it will only dry your grain by a little bit. Growers trying to aerate their silos manually need to be aware that it's hard work and can be fraught with risk."
Phil says too much effort goes into growing a crop not to regularly monitor the quality of grain during storage.
"Getting the airflow right against the moisture content is important. Too little and your grain may spoil. Too much and, well, other problems and costs can arise.
Without an automatic aeration system, growers need to manually control fans by turning them on and off throughout the day to achieve the cooler grain mass objective of aeration.
"This is risky as grain could accidentally gain moisture. Having the fans going at the wrong time also results in higher energy and maintenance costs because fans are not running inefficiently."
Good grain storage technologies give growers more harvest flexibility and create opportunities to hold onto your grain until its a better time to sell based on quality or market decisions.
He says the main benefit of automatic aeration systems is that they keep your grain cool.
"Some can also rehydrate grain to meet moisture targets with precision to help ensure the grain analysis meets your expectations when it comes time to sell.
"Good aeration control principles automatically select the driest, coolest ambient air to push into the silo. The system monitors the prevailing ambient temperature and humidity and switches on automatically at the right time of day or night to maintain the quality of the grain mass."
Phil says the right airflow will also help manage insect pests during storage.
"Well designed automatic aeration systems are worth their investment. When storing grain, a good system can effectively monitor airflow and manage the temperature to get it to under 20 degrees to protect the quality. An added benefit that at that temperature you also reduce the risk of insect pests hatching and spoiling your crop."
When to get started?
Phil says Post-harvest can be the ideal time to plan future grain storage system requirements, as it's a good period in which to identify issues and opportunities for future harvest operations that may otherwise be forgotten once next years' crop cycle gets underway.
How to get started?
To get started, search for aeration solutions or a grain storage vendor on AgTechFinder.com. There are pictures and videos and all the information including pricing models, installation process, ongoing maintenance and support required, and the number of units the company has deployed.
Growers can also read success stories, case studies and handy tips for when setting up ag technology to make their jobs easier, more profitable and for greater peace of mind.
Post-harvest can be the ideal time to plan future grain storage system requirements, as it's a good period in which to identify issues and opportunities for future harvest operations.