Preparing grain bins for fall harvest

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

The recent weather has been the typical Ohio kind of weather this time of year to me. I am looking forward to the mild weather we are to have this Labor Day weekend.

The recent rain this past week was well-received by some and, surprisingly, some could have done without.

At the Nye farm, the total rainfall this week of 1.86 inches was the most rain received in a three-day period since sometime in June. Like some, we could have used more through the growing season. It will certainly help but may be a little too late for really top notch yields.

We will know soon how our crops did as the fall harvest season is getting close. So what kind of weather do should we expect for the weeks to come for fall harvest

According to the weather experts, the cooler than normal area of water in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator tends to push the first autumn freeze later than normal in our region. Therefore, there is no indication of an early freeze in September this year.

It appears the first freeze for Ohio will not come until October either on schedule or a bit later than normal.

September looks to have the first half start cooler than normal followed by a return to normal temperatures for second half of the month. Precipitation will be normal or slightly above normal for September.

Normal rainfall is currently 1-1.5 inches per two weeks dropping to about an inch per two weeks for the second half of September.

Even though we expect rainfall at or slightly above normal in September, there is a great deal of uncertainty due to the tropics and where those systems will travel. So you will want to pay attention to later outlooks at: .

Rainfall for the first half of September will average 0.50-2.00 inches. The heaviest rains will likely surround the state of Ohio in most directions.

The experts suggest as we head into October into part of November above normal temperatures should create an extended autumn this year. Rainfall remains highly uncertain but it appears near normal and appears the most likely outcome for October and November as we have some climate models showing above normal and some below normal rainfall.

The early outlook for winter calls for above normal temperatures first half and below normal temperatures second half. Precipitation is likely to become above normal with potential influences from the tropical Pacific Ocean. Let’s hope Mother Nature cooperates and we have a really good and successful harvest this fall.

With harvest nearing do you have your grain storage system prepared for the coming season? Now is the time to prepare for a successful harvest.

Before the combine goes to the field, a key component will be to have grain handling and storage facilities adequately sanitized. Taking the proper steps now should help eliminate insect infestations that can significantly reduce grain quality or salability.

The majority of insect infestations that occur in stored grains are a result of migration into the bin. These insect populations will be present in piles of spilled grain from the previous year, livestock feed in the area, litter, and weed growth.

Newly harvested grain can also be contaminated when it comes in contact with infested grain that was not cleaned from the combine, trucks, wagons, augers, dump pits, or grain leg buckets.

Another source of contamination can be carryover grain in a bin that was not correctly emptied.

Proper sanitation begins outside the bin. Brush/sweep or vacuum out any grain left in the combine, wagons, or grain carts.

Remove all vegetation that grows within ten feet of the bins. Then spray this area with a residual herbicide to prevent regrowth.

Remove any grain spills or other debris that might have accumulated during the load out of the previous crop. This step will minimize the habitat available and make migration to the bin more challenging.

Inside the bin, it is crucial to make sure that there was no grain left from the previous crop. Thoroughly sweep or vacuum any area that grain could potentially be sitting on, which includes any ledges, ladders, or braces. Remove all dust and debris from fans, aeration ducts, and under slotted floors (when possible). Insects may remain in these hard to clean areas.

While the bin is empty, an insecticide application should be completed to combat this potential problem. The treatment will help create another barrier for insects that try to migrate into the bin, but should not be used as a replacement for proper sanitation. The best time to apply insecticides to empty bins is two to three weeks before harvest.

There are several products available so check with your local suppliers. These products can also be applied to the external walls of the bin to create a secondary barrier.

It is critical to read the full product label and follow all label instructions.

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension