Welcome to Grain School
Since 2012, hundreds of farmers and dealers have attended IntelliFarms University’s Grain School sessions and have emerged with a stronger knowledge about how to optimize their grain storage management practices. At IntelliFarms University, you’ll learn:
Grain School sessions are held the first Thursday and Friday of each month at the IntelliFarms headquarters in Archie, MO. Upon registration, IntelliFarms will be in contact to discuss travel and lodging arrangements.
Grain School covers variety of subjects that will improve your understanding and application of grain management practices.
Grain School students will learn about grain moisture content and equilibrium moisture content (EMC) and how they impact safe storage moisture versus marketable moisture content. The course will discuss factors that affect EMC, and students will learn how to apply calculated equations to create the desired moisture content and affect controlled drying.
The concepts and processes of grain drying need to be learnt and understood to keep the grain at safe moisture content without spoilage due to mold. The stakeholders are given in-depth knowledge about the principle involved in grain drying, factors involved in drying of grains like characteristics of grains and water holding capacity of air, psychrometric principle used to find enthalpy (heat content) needed to increase drying air temperature, drying rate at fixed condition, temperature and humidity change during drying, natural air drying process in a grain bin with and without heater and weather data analysis.
Based on the information gathered from stakeholders, many farmers lost their grains in the bin due to under-design airflow for the purpose its used. For example, for natural air drying, we need higher airflow; for aeration cooling, we need lower airflow. If low airflow is used for natural air drying, there will be huge economic loss to farmers/producers. This course teaches about the importance of airflow for drying and cooling of grain mass and advantages of low temperature natural air drying such as stress-crack free grain in the bin. It covers topics on aeration system components, airflow rates, airflow resistance, porosity, packing factor, non-uniform airflow, fan sizing and selection, and design of aeration system.
The objective of grain storage management is to maintain grain quality throughout the storage period without losing grain grade, grain moisture content, nutrient content and viability of seed grain. Factors influencing grain spoilage during storage are grain moisture content, grain temperature, insects, mites and molds, based on geographical locations and bin structural orientation. The challenges in grain storage management are weather and location, grain quality parameters for different grades of grain, shrinkage/over-dried, condensation and moisture migration, hotspot, mold damage and insect damage.
The good grain management strategies are good sanitation around storage bin and equipment, proper loading methods, aeration cooling, and monitoring. The monitoring involves grain temperature, moisture, interspatial air humidity, insect activity by trapping, carbon dioxide level, mold and mycotoxin. The stakeholders are educated with holistic approach of grain management involving various disciples such as agricultural engineering, plant pathology, entomology, meteorology and agricultural economics.
Knowledge of economics related to grain management is essential as profit margin is very small. If not clearly understood, they may end up with huge loss. In this course, the economics related to on-farm natural air drying versus commercial drying are discussed. Also economics of good and poor farm bin management are exposed. Economic losses related to shrinkage/over dried loss, extra fan run cost and over dried harvest moisture is being discussed. The stakeholders are educated with calculation of grain storage cost (which include fixed cost and variable cost) involved in the on-farm storage as well as commercial elevator storage.