How to Set up an Efficient Corn Drying System

For grain storage facilities, processing plants, and farmers the challenge of setting up a system for efficient corn drying can be a big one. There are a number of factors that go into creating an effective and efficient system.

Most important to your drying process set up is proactively establishing a plan. If you following these tips on corn storage and drying you won’t need to adjust your drying needs around harvest. You can just focus on harvest.

Experts are calling corn the darling of the market, so there’s no better time to invest in the best processes for high margins on your corn crops.

Here are 5 tips for efficiently drying and storing your corn:

1. Plan Around The Calendar 

Most of the time it makes sense to start your drying process in the field and often that is the most economical. However, many farms make the mistake of not factoring in rot, infestations or inefficiency due to harvest schedules – all problems relating to timing of the year.

To avoid some of this potential late season problems, start your harvest early and then dry immature corn to protect your investment. You can begin harvest when the corn is at 25% average moisture and then finish drying with a complete corn drying system. This process can increase operational efficiency and crop yields.

Depending on your location, Mid-October harvest is generally a good rule of thumb for return on your drying system.

2. Consider Temperature, Humidity, and Corn Moisture

When determining when the right time to harvest and complete drying, consider the moisture of your crop and the temperature and humidity in your region. These factors impact your dry time.

For instance, in the average climate of North Dakota, the following applies for corn drying:

  • 21% moisture = 45 days of fan time
  • 19% moisture = 33 days of fan time
  • 17% moisture = 14 days of fan time

In each of these cases, this is also based on a 1.0 airflow (cfm/bu).

In another drying table developed by Tom Dorn from UNL drying time varied by more than 10 days depending on the temperature and relative humidity; based on corn harvested at 20%.

Knowing the weather conditions and the moisture of your corn will help you determine the best outcome when considering commercial drying methods and their relative cost.

3. Screen Your Corn 

Screen lower quality corn prior to drying. Grain that is uniform in size and moisture content will dry more consistently. Screening also removes broken kernels and debris that can prevent proper airflow. If the corn is not screened before it enters the bin, a grain spreader will be required to keep fines (grain fragments) from gathering in the center of the bin and blocking airflow. This can lead to spoilage.

You can screen your corn using a rotary screen, gravity screen, or a perforated auger section.

4. Have The Right Equipment

Getting the most from your corn drying process means having the right equipment. There is nothing worse for a farmer than going through the time and expense to grow and harvest your crop, only to lose income from poor storage and drying equipment.

To have a process that works efficiently and protects your crop, you will need the ability to dry and store corn with low risk of loss.

This equipment may include high-speed drying equipment, separate cooling bins, dryers, airflow systems, and handling equipment.

While some equipment can provide double duty in a drying system. In can sometimes be more cost effective to have equipment dedicated to a specific purpose.

5. Get Trusted Help 

Setting up an efficient corn drying system can be done, but sometimes it is better to trust the experts. At Adams Grain Bins, we are the Northwest’s leader in grain storage, handling, and drying.

We love helping businesses and farmers succeed. Part of that is helping people see that a bin is not simply the place you put your grain between harvest and delivery/sale.

With the right equipment and processes, quality grain storage is an investment that can reduce your operating costs with fewer trucks and personnel at harvest time.

Our services can help you too.

Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for your farm or business.