Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Storing grain using tarps and bags? Prepare the ground in advance

Tarping dry grain on the ground is OK for a day or a week, Dr. Chelladurai Vellaichamy says, but not any longer.

Chelladurai Vellaichamy is a Ph.D. student in biosystems engineering at the University of Manitoba. Vellaichamy and his colleagues have been researching canola storage in grain bags for three years, with support from the Canola Council of Canada and Growing Forward.

Vellaichamy says tarping high-moisture grain is likely to cause mould growth and other problems. Humidity can also be high during harvest. “So that also makes it a difficult case if we just store it after harvesting right on to the ground.”

High-moisture grain can be stored in grain bags for a few weeks maximum.

Ground preparation is an important fact for both tarps and grain bags, says Vellaichamy. Here are five tips to help keep your grain safe.

  1. Make sure the site has good drainage.
  2. Clean the ground, removing any sharp objects, such as rocks, that might pierce the bag or tarp.
  3. Pack the ground really well. Pressure needs to be applied while loading grain bags, so it won’t work well if the ground is soft.
  4. Cut grass to keep rodents away.
  5. Apply lime to the ground before placing the bag, and around the bag once it’s in place. Vellaichamy says they didn’t see a single rodent after using lime.

For more information on Vellaichamy’s study of grain stored in bags and tarps, see the full article in Grainews. The article also includes a look at the cost of these short-term solutions, versus buying bins.

— Lisa Guenther is a field editor with Grainews at Livelong, Sask. Contact her at Lisa. [email protected]

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