Safe storage of grain

Published 24 July 15

With combine harvesters starting to roll into fields across the UK, there will soon be a supply of 2015 grain available for livestock farmers to purchase. There are many purchasing options available for cereals, and farmers should carefully consider which one is best suited to their system, Dr Stephen Whelan, AHDB Dairy R&D Manager, tells Forage for Knowledge.

For example, grain may be forward purchased and collected from the seller on an as-required basis. Placing the onus on the seller to maintain the grain in a manner that is fit for use as an animal feed. In this case, the price per tonne of grain may be higher than if purchased straight from the field, but you will not need to store the grain yourself, which has its own associated costs.

These costs will vary depending on the method but the end goal is the same; the grain must be kept in a manner that maintains its suitability as an animal feed, ie free from biological, physical and chemical contaminants (moulds, stones and pesticides).

Correct storage helps to ensure the maximum energy and protein value is realised when the grain is offered to your livestock. Colleagues in AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds recently published a guide on the safe storage of grains and oilseeds, which can be downloaded from their website. However, while this document is useful for background information, it only covers drying and storing of grains and there are other options available to livestock farmers. For more information on these alternatives, you can consult the AHDB Beef & Lamb guide on grain storage.

In conclusion, proper storage methods allow the nutritional value of the grain to be maintained, ensuring your livestock have the best quality feed available to them. However, it is important to carefully consider the costs associated with each method, taking into account infrastructure that is already in available on farm.