There is a potentially major problem in this year’s corn crop. I have seen and received reports of a dust-like substance in the corn that is causing some issues. I do not know how widespread the issue is but, I wanted to make everyone aware of it. Below is a list of potential problems that we are seeing it cause.
- In a portable dryer: The grain columns will stop flowing and the grain will overheat. If the grain temperature is not monitored by the dryer control system, or if the grain temperature sensor has been bypassed, the grain in the dryer can combust. If the grain stops flowing through the dryer, then the dryer will need to be emptied, made sure the screens are clean and started again.
- In a TOP DRY: The grain will stop flowing and it will need to be emptied, made sure the screens are clean and started again.
- In both the portable dryer and TOP DRY if using LP: If they get a large area of grain choked and not moving, the air will not pass through those areas well. Static pressures will then increase and the vaporizers will overheat.
- In a drying bin without a stirring machine: It is very possible that the airflow can become so restricted, from the air not being able to pass through, that the grain will spoil while in the drying process.
- In a drying bin with a stirring machine: If the augers do not go close enough to the wall, the grain next to the wall will possibly seal over and spoil, from lack of proper aeration.
- In a storage bin: Air will not be able to pass through the grain well and bridging could easily occur. I have seen this grain scooped into a pile and not flow as it normally would (it stays put like a pyramid and does not flow). If you put this grain in a storage bin from your dryer, I would recommend complete cooling before putting it in long-term storage. After the grain has been placed in storage, run your aeration fans and monitor your bins excessively. When this grain is removed from the bins, do not enter the bin because the probability of grain entrapment will be very high. The dust in the corn is acting like a bonding agent and gluing it together. I would recommend coring the bin every three to six feet in the filling process. Pull out 200-300 bu, depending on bin size.
- The origin of this dust could very possibly be mold related. For you and your worker’s safety, any time you are dealing with this grain wear a dust mask. The recommended mask is a 3M mask rated for mold. Whether you are driving the combine, unloading grain, operating the dryer, leveling the bin, or unloading the bin wear the mask.
If you don’t have this issue consider yourself blessed. I didn’t want to bring bad news, but I think you need to be informed.
Thanks & Stay Safe,
Larry W Harris