How to manage stored grains in a warehouse could be a major challenge to grain farmers and aggregators. It is important to note that, warehouses play an important role in the post-harvest value chain. After harvesting, drying, threshing, and bagging, the grains or other farm produce are brought into the warehouse to be stored. The warehouse then becomes the home of your farm produce until they have to be sold or consumed. Poor warehouse management could result in the loss of stored produce or a reduction in the quality of produce stored in the warehouse. Before stocking the warehouse, it is important to ensure that the warehouse is in good condition.
What a good warehouse looks like
Overhead air vents: To provide the right amount of ventilation while protecting stored grains from the outside atmosphere, a warehouse should have overhead air vents facing the direction of the wind for proper ventilation.
No holes or cracks: To prevent rodents and insects from having easy access to grains in the warehouse, warehouses should not have holes or cracks.
A good concrete base around the warehouse perimeter: The base forming the boundary around the warehouse should be made in concrete to provide no hiding place for insects and rodents. This is because concrete is resistant to impact and not porous.
Good warehouse management practices
Here are some good warehouse management practices that will ensure that your grains last long during storage
- Inspect the warehouse before receiving grains for storage. Ensure there are no water leaks. Close holes to keep out insects and rodents and repair any damages.
- Inspect grains before storing them in the warehouse. Sample grains to ensure that they don’t contain any pests or insects.
- Ensure that the grains to be stored are dry to the right moisture level. A good moisture meter like the GrainMate grain moisture meter helps warehouse managers measure the moisture content of the grains before storage.
- Place grains neatly in layers on clean wooden pallets. Leave space between palettes for easy storage, inspection, and destocking.
- Clean warehouse and storage areas regularly. Remove weeds around the warehouse and disinfect them with an appropriate insecticide. Install traps to catch pests. Ensure that the interior of the warehouse is always clean, sweep away any fallen grains so they don’t attract insects and rodents.
- Examine grains regularly to check for mold, high moisture, insects, and access any damages. Dry grains with high moisture content and fumigate grains that have been attacked by insects.
- Sell grains on a first in – first out basis. This ensures that older and more vulnerable grains are sold first.
- Take proper stock and keep good records of grains noting the date, size, weight, and variety of each bag.
For warehouse managers, the GrainMate Warehouse Monitor makes it easy to monitor the temperature and humidity of warehouses even when you’re not around. You receive alerts if the conditions in your warehouse can cause grains to spoil and take action before it happens.
Good warehouse management is an important part of the post-harvest process. Following good warehouse management practices will help you reduce losses and help you sell your grains at the best time for the best price. Download our GrainMate App for android to have access to more post-harvest loss resources here.