The Use of Grain Probes and Other Soybean Storage Tips

Many farmers store grain and soybeans in their bins on the farm to be sold at a later date.  Sometimes it is because the grain or beans have a too high moisture content and have to be dried some more, while in other instances the farmer wants to wait until the market pays a higher price again the following year.  Whatever the reason is, we want to give you some tips how to store your harvest properly in order to minimize spoilage and loss of income.

In this article we focus on the proper storage of soybeans.  Soybeans require some special considerations compared to for example corn.

If you want to store your soybeans they should have a moisture content of no more than 13%.  Use a portable moisture tester to test your crop in several locations.  When you want to test your soybeans in the bin, it is best to use a six to ten foot grain probe to collect the samples from various depths at the center and also in other locations of the bin.  Do not mix the samples; they will help you locate any problem spots and drying fronts.  We also recommend testing each sample three times and calculating the average of the readings.

Soybeans with less than 15% moisture usually can be dried with big fans.  Remember that beans stored for more than one planting season should be dried to 12% moisture or even less.   In a normal year, unheated air will dry your beans to a moisture content of 13%.  This process can take from three to six weeks, depending on the relevant conditions.  In cool, wet falls we recommend the use of supplemental heat.  However, be careful not to use too high heat because this could damage the fragile soybeans.  Keep in mind that soybeans have about 25% less airflow resistance than shelled corn.

If you want to use unheated air of a low-temperature dryer, you should pay attention to these two points: 1. Make sure you have a fully perforated floor and 2. The fan has to be strong enough to push airflow of 1-2 to CFM/BU through the soybeans.  Limit the drying temperature to 130° – 140° F for commercial beans.

In order to avoid over-drying, which can lead to cracking of the soybeans, test your crop moisture and condition every day.  Once your soybeans have a moisture content of 15% or less, you want to aerate the stored beans to maintain the grain temperature at 35° to 40° F during the winter.  Come summer, the recommended temperature is between 40° and 60° F.

We at AgPoint Precision sell and service a number of high quality grain probes and moisture testers, and are happy to assist you with any questions you might have.  So please contact us via e-mail or call us toll free at 1-866-668-4855.


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