Chilled Aeration to Control Pests and Maintain Grain Quality during Summer Storage of Wheat in the North Central Region of Kansas
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Chilled aeration allows grain to be cooled, independent of ambient conditions, to “safe” temperatures at which insects, fungi, and spoilage development are reduced to a minimum. The objective of this research was to evaluate the advantages of using grain chilling to preserve the quality of grain and reduce post-harvest losses caused by insects and fungi, compared to the conventional aeration and storage strategies used during summer storage in central Kansas. The research trials were developed at a farmer‘s cooperative in central Kansas in 2015 and 2016 on low-moisture wheat harvested during the summer of 2015 and 2016, respectively, and stored in two 1,350 metric ton (t) steel silos in which one was chilled and the other was used as a control managed by the cooperative. Temperature of the grain inside each silo was monitored with temperature cables. Variables evaluated were: moisture content (MC), grain and flour quality, insect-pest development and reproduction rate, insect fragments per 500 g of grain, and fungi presence. In 2015, the chilling treatment reduced the grain temperature from 28°C to 17°C in approximately 175 h, while in 2016 it took 245 h to reach about the same temperature with an initial grain temperature of 39°C. Grain temperatures below 25°C were not achieved in the control silo during the summer using ambient aeration. Minimum variation of MC was observed in the Chilled silo while ambient aeration reduced the moisture content by 0.5%. Reproduction rates of the red flour beetle and lesser grain borer were significantly reduced by chilling temperatures lower than 17°C. Lower temperatures also reduced insect populations detected in probe traps and insect damaged kernels. Insect fragments and fungi presence had no significant increase throughout the trials in either of the silos. No clear evidence of flour quality being better preserved at lower temperatures was detected. The energy cost of running the grain chiller was between 0.26-0.32 $/t higher than ambient aeration.
This article is published as Morales-Quiros, Alejandro, Carlos Campabadal, Dirk E. Maier, Sonia MN Lazzari, Flavio A. Lazzari, and Thomas W. Phillips. "Chilled Aeration to Control Pests and Maintain Grain Quality during Summer Storage of Wheat in the North Central Region of Kansas." Applied Engineering in Agriculture 35, no. 4 (2019): 657-688. DOI: 10.13031/aea.13252. Posted with permission.