Home Grain Market Analysis Preventative Maintenance

Preventative Maintenance

Scott Shiels

Spring is in the air, and with that, probably my most favourite time: seeding! Whether you are pulling a 60-foot air drill or broadcasting your seed through a Valmar, there is something special and satisfying every time you cross the land. 

This is a time where most of you are spending a lot of effort thinking, both about the seeding job you are doing, and about what is left doing once seeding is done. On that note, I thought I would touch on some possibly forgotten, or neglected, jobs around the farm that could potentially cost you money when marketing your grain down the road. 

One of the first things we recommend doing after seeding is turning bins and sampling the grain you have left on the farm. Generally, by this time of year, most producers will have the necessary space available to enable them to move their remaining inventory around, and to resubmit samples to buyers to check grain quality. All too often, the spring warm-up and early summer heat can start to cause issues to what was fine all winter in the cold weather. The other reason for getting buyers to check samples again is that oftentimes, once we get into the summer, opportunities arise for premiums when buyers get short. In my experience as a grain buyer, I can say, in many cases, the first person you are going to call when you need some grain is the individual who came by for a visit and provided new samples. It never hurts to be the “squeaky wheel” in this industry. 

The next thing you should do is a thorough checking and cleaning of all your empty bins. Taking this time to fix any bolt holes or leaky lids can save you from having to deal with spoiled grain in the future. Also, it is a great opportunity to sweep up flat-bottom bins and sprinkle, if you are up for it, a little bit of diatomaceous earth around the outside of the bin. This helps prevent stored grain insects from harbouring in this area and infesting the new grain that comes into the bin at harvest time. 

Hopper bins, while better, are not immune to some of these issues either. Taking advantage when they are empty and inspecting the inside is crucial to preventing stored grain issues in the new year. Once your bins are empty, open up your bottom slides and get a look up and into them. We have had numerous producers fail to find grain that got wet and stuck to the sides of the hopper bins. Once the bins are refilled, that crusty wet mess crumbles down and contaminates the new grain and can cause grading issues due to off-type grain or potentially worse issues with bugs or heated grain. 

A quick little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way to ensuring the grain you grow remains in good condition for you to sell. 

Until next time…