A successful grain storage system requires a combination of methods to manage moisture levels. These include proper insulation of storage silos and desiccant dehumidifiers. However, the best method for dealing with moisture problems in bulk silos is to understand your product’s physical properties.
Optimal Grain Moisture Levels
Grain moisture levels are critical for the proper storage of grains. Grain that is too wet can become moldy or susceptible to insects, while grain that is too dry can shrink and become unusable. Fortunately, there is a sweet spot for grain moisture content. In general, the optimum grain moisture content is 13% or less. However, these levels can vary, and the exact target percentages will depend on the type of grain and the storage method.
While it is essential to maintain low grain moisture levels, other factors must be taken into consideration. The climate can significantly affect grain moisture levels, so monitoring the moisture levels at regular intervals is essential. If you are in an area where temperatures fluctuate wildly, you should check your grain moisture level weekly. This can help reduce in-paddock losses, bird/rodent damage, and harvester losses. Remember that each day that grain is stored at a high moisture level will affect yields by 0.5% to 1%.
If moisture levels are not monitored regularly, the quality of the grains stored in bulk silos could be affected. The moisture content of grains determines their quality and economic value. For this reason, it is essential to measure moisture levels in bulk silos regularly. Current methods for measuring grain moisture in bulk silos rely on grab sampling and single rod sensors randomly inserted into the grain. Unfortunately, these methods are limited by their location and can’t provide a continuous measurement of moisture levels throughout a bulk silo.
Effectiveness of Desiccant Dehumidifiers
Desiccant dehumidifiers provide a climate-controlled environment for bulk materials like grains. They regulate the relative humidity within silos to prevent grain spoilage and minimize condensation. They also maintain a stable temperature to improve powder flow. They can also be used in tents and chilled storage areas. This type of equipment can reduce the number of cleaning cycles and increase the efficiency of storage facilities.
One of the most essential benefits of desiccant dehumidification systems is their extensive drying capability. They can be used to dry agricultural products without affecting their nutritional content. Other uses include drying clothes and preserving dry fruits.
Dry air is delivered to the ullage space via a pipe that runs outside the silo and connects to the lorry. The dehumidifier is connected to this pipe with a coupling. The pipe is disconnected from the dehumidifier when the lorry loads the product.
The desiccant dehumidifier uses silica gel desiccant to eliminate the water vapor in the air. The desiccant-based system does not produce condensate and works best in environments with low humidity. Furthermore, this type of unit doesn’t require an external compressor.
The effectiveness of desiccant dehumidification systems depends on their capacity and the air temperature inlet and outlet. Its condensation rate and moisture removal capacity can be measured using a psychrometric chart.
Insulation of Storage Silos
Many bulk materials can be vulnerable to condensation because they are hygroscopic. They absorb moisture quickly, such as corn, baking powder, and calcium phosphate. They also can absorb moisture from the air around them. These materials must be stored in silos that maintain a constant moisture level, or they risk wastage, reduced quality, and increased environmental costs.
To maintain proper moisture levels in silos, the grain must be ventilated. This requires installing particular air discharge and supply aerators. These should be placed at the upper and lower cuts of the silo’s roof. Alternatively, some roof constructions declare a narrow annular space along the lower perimeter of the silo. Depending on the silo design, this can be an alternative to a distributed air supply aerator.
To prevent the development of mold and mildew, silos should be ventilated regularly. The grain should be ventilated periodically based on climate and need. Understanding the causes of moisture problems and the best ways to prevent them is essential.
Sugar is particularly inappropriate material. Over time, it can form lumps, which can damage the structure of the silo. This type of build-up can reduce the usable volume of the silo. It can also obstruct the outlet and compromise the structure of the silo.