The Ultimate Grain Storage Guide

With golden barley fields a testament to the hottest June on record, harvest will soon be upon us. In view of this, we decided the time was right to put together the ultimate grain storage manual. Storing your grain correctly will boost profits besides ensuring food safety for the supply chain and consumer. With correct systems, cereals can be stored for longer periods of time, allowing farmers to wait for more advantageous prices. According to AHDB, feed wheat sold in November typically garners a £4/tonne higher price over harvest values, when supply is forthcoming. Fundamentally, this means that high quality grain cooling and storage systems are an investment you won’t regret.

With correct systems, cereals can be stored for longer periods of time, allowing farmers to wait for more advantageous prices. According to AHDB, feed wheat sold in November typically garners a £4/tonne higher price over harvest values, when supply is forthcoming. Fundamentally, this means that high quality grain cooling and storage systems are an investment you won’t regret.

Grain Storage Challenges

The main obstacles facing all arable farmers are reducing moisture levels and getting temperatures down as fast as possible, not an easy thing in balmy harvest weather. Hotter temperatures warm grain stores, with convection currents in the grain flowing up along shed walls and down into the middle of the building, drawing hot air into the grain. It’s important to remember that grain remains a ‘living’ crop, it respires and therefore is susceptible to infection from moulds or insect infestations. Particularly with grain temperatures between 20-30 degrees celsius, insect infestations and mould or fungi growth can become rife.

Our Grain Storage Recommendations

  •  Ensure that before the first trailer of grain arrives, thorough pre-harvest store preparation has been done. This should include inspecting/repairing any areas of potential water ingress (i.e fans, gutters, roofs), rodent, insect and bird entry proofing/baiting and testing and maintenance of cooling/storage equipment. As well as this, the store and the equipment should be thoroughly cleaned, there should be adequate space above the grain for ventilation, and there should be a known history of what the store has been used for previously (i.e potatoes, livestock etc). Agri-Linc can assist with all the insect traps , rodent solutions and grain store vacuum cleaners  you require.
  • Ensure that the on-farm dryer has been fully serviced and is operational to a high standard prior to harvest.
  • Frequently measuring temperatures is essential. Doing this will show if your cooling system is effective and will identify any hot spots in the store; a rise in temperature is also a sign of insect activity. We recommend lowering grain temperatures to below 15 degrees celsius for best storage results. Ideally, temperatures should reach 5 degrees Celsius to reduce the risk of disease, insects and moulds. As a guide, 15 degrees Celsius prevents saw-toothed grain beetles developing, below 10 degrees Celsius stops grain weevils and below 5 degrees Celsius prevents storage mite activity. However, malting barley should not go below 10 degrees Celsius, as this could induce secondary dormancy.
  • Ventilate the spare space between the grain and the shed roof, reducing a heating effect on the grain at the top of the building. Poorly ventilated or unventilated buildings will circulate warm air from the grain rather than expelling it. Although leaving doors open can help, this poses security concerns, and is non-compliant with quality assurance schemes, as it allows access for birds and vermin.
  • Start using a cooling system as soon as the grain comes into the store/off the drier and continue for at least 24 hours to remove high temperatures. This is a step you should take regardless of the weather, even rain/damp conditions will not affect the moisture of hot grain. A common mistake made by farmers is to wait until cooler weather arrives; doing so only heightens the risk of condensation when heat in the grain meets cold air above the grain in the building.
  • Checking the humidity will indicate the suitability of the air for drying grain, ensuring drying targets are fulfilled efficiently. Damp air won’t increase the moisture in the grain, but it will reduce the efficiency of drying systems should damp air enter the grain.
  • It’s also advised against mixing grain from two different harvests as this could encourage cross-contamination.
  • Invest in a robust grain-cooling and storage system to prevent grain deterioration and costly rejections. Agri-Linc have a plethora of grain storage solutions from reputable brands available, browse here .

How Do I Measure Grain Temperature - A Deeper Dive

As we’ve mentioned, grain temperatures are a key part of preventing grain deterioration and insect/mould infestations. To get an accurate temperature reading, take one measurement for every 100 tonnes of grain stored 3-5m deep. Put an imaginary 6m x 6m grid over the surface of the grain and take a reading from the centre of the grid square. Always ensure readings are done from this place, otherwise your readings may simply show changes in the location, as opposed to actual reductions in temperature. In a store of a greater depth, take readings using a 10m x 10m grid.

Agri-Linc's Grain Storage Shopping List

Agri-Linc stock a large amount of grain storage must-haves especially for the season; see the full range here .  From small items such as rodenticides and insect traps to investment items such as grain storage fans, we’ve got you covered. So, if we were in your boots, here’s what we’d pick!

Phobi Insect Smoke Bombs

Besides regular insect traps, Agri-Linc also stock these Phobi Insect smoke bombs, for use in empty grain stores. The smoke detonated will reach into all the nooks and crannies where insects will hide and is proven to control red-rust flour beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, Indian meal moths, grain mites and grain weevils.


Agri-Linc stock a large range of rodenticides, ideal for use as a deterrent against vermin during harvest time, when freshly harvested cereals make farmyards very palatable for rodents! Many of the items in the range simulate wheat grains, designed to attract vermin.

Grain Sampling Spear

Agri-Linc stock a range of grain sampling spears, so be sure to look at all the options, but this particular one is a single head, 2.6m length spear. This is used to ascertain small samples at depth for use in moisture meters, yielding an approx 50g grain sample. In the words of our stores team, “grain sampling spears are a helpful tool for pulling grain samples from storage at different depths for analysis, best used with an Agri-Linc moisture meter to gain an insight into the crop condition”.

Hotspot Spear

We’ve mentioned grain hotspots a few times in this blog. Again, this is one of a few hotspot spears on offer at Agri-Linc, so be sure to browse all the options. This particular one is a 2.35 metre length suitable for cereals, for rapid response to storage hotspots. These spears are constructed from tough, spiral wound tubing.

V-Tuf Grain Store Hoover

Now we know how important it is to clean and prepare your storage area for grain, this is an item you really need on your shopping list. This 3.5KW 80 litre industrial vacuum cleaner is suitable in a plethora of environments for both wet and dry applications. It’s a great all-rounder and will prove itself essential in the workshop when not in use in your grain store.

WILE Moisture, Temperature, Specific Weight Tester

Here at Agri-Linc, these moisture meters are a best-selling item in harvest season. We have a few WILE moisture meters in our range, be sure to check them all out here . This particular Wile 200 offers fast, easy and accurate measurements for grain moisture, test weight and temperature. It’s very easy to use, highly accurate and has moisture measurement pre-programmed for 20 grains.

WILE 1.5m Temperature Probe

This quick and easy to use temperature probe is a great solution for use on loose solids such as hay, grain and wood shavings, with a temperature range of -15 to +70 degrees Celsius.

Storecool Grain Pedestal

This innovative grain cooling pedestal comes with a wide-open base for brilliant air flow (40% greater than traditional systems), especially suitable for shallow grain storage. These come at 2.7m or 3.7m lengths.

Polycool Grain Drying Pedestal

The mighty Polycool range is widely recognized for its durability over many alternatives on the market. For an interesting watch, check out the video below of these pedestals standing up to the weight of a Claas Scorpion telehandler! For the deeper storage needs, these pedestals can reach up to 5.5 metres with extensions. These are compatible with a range of grain cooling fans also stocked by Agri-Linc.



PV250 Grain Cooling Pedestal Fan

This all-aluminium grain cooling fan has a high performance impeller for improved air movement with integrally fitted guards. A top performing, three phase, 1.1 Kw fan.

Evolution Grain Cooling Pedestal Fan

With a lower energy intake than the PV250, the evolution is a smart, high-output grain fan. This uses a 0.35kw single phase fan with in-built differential temperature controller to automate fan running times. It also uses a brushless motor technology and redesigned impeller allowing it to match 1.1kW fans using only 30% of the power. This can be used with any Polycool pedestal with a 150mm top pipe.

In Conclusion...

We hope that our ultimate grain storage guide has been an interesting and informative read. Head on over to our website to browse the full range of grain storage equipment or give one of our experienced team members a call on 01778 591225.

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