The goal of wheat drying is to reduce grain moisture co […]
The goal of wheat drying is to reduce grain moisture content to meet the recommended levels for safe, long-term storage. When placed in storage, wheat should be dried quickly to a moisture level of about 12 percent to minimize any quality deterioration. Wheat drying can be accomplished in bins by blowing large volumes of dry air through the grain. This website will explore the challenges of wheat drying and storage.
There has been a dramatic increase over the last few years in on-farm storage and drying systems that have been primarily used for other crops such as corn. These systems could be used for wheat. As a result, wheat growers often debate the subject of whether or not to dry and store wheat on the farm. Arguments against this are that on-farm wheat-drying costs may be higher than commercial drying costs particularly when the cost of electricity is high.
Another argument against on-farm wheat drying is that wheat drying must be done at one of the busiest times of the farming season. The time required to effectively monitor and manage the drying process can add to the already significant pressure on growers.
However, arguments for on-farm wheat drying include creating a higher quality finished product. Growers realize that when wheat grain is re-wetted in the field several times while awaiting field drying to dockage levels, the quality is compromised. Therefore, implementing on-farm drying of the freshly harvested wheat will produce higher quality grain. Growers who dry and store their wheat also gain more flexibility to manage their operations and timing of when to sell their wheat.
Additionally, early wheat harvest would allow earlier planting of double crop soybeans, which generally means greater yields on double crop. Overall, on-farm drying and storage of wheat is becoming an appealing practice especially when the producer can use the drying and handling equipment in rotation with other grains such as rice. This chapter will explore the basics of on-farm wheat drying and storage.