Assessing and addressing the impact of warmer autumns on the success of grain cooling
About this project
Grain cooling by low volume ambient aeration is a well-established technique for preventing biodeterioration of stored grain after harvest. It is primarily used to control insect pests. However, it is only successful if specific targets are met by specified times; this can only be achieved by using appropriate equipment and good management. Over the past few years some growers have experienced problems in achieving targets at the correct time.
This project aimed to gather preliminary evidence from growers on their experiences with cooling and to show, through use of simple and cheap differential thermostatic controllers, that it is possible to meet targets at a lower price compared to manual control.
In a nationwide survey of on-farm stores during 2007 only one grower achieved all three targets by the required time and a few others met one of the targets. Whilst some growers could have improved their cooling practice, the study provides tentative evidence that the changing climate may be having an impact on the speed of cooling. This is being further explored in a LINK project running from 2006 to 2011.
Despite this, UK growers are still able to prevent insect infestation through grain cooling. The project demonstrated the benefits of differential fan control in terms of efficacy, enabling adaptation to climate change. Reduced fan operation saved 34-40% in energy and operating costs, and demonstrated the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of grain storage.
Key messages from the project were incorporated into a successful series of grower workshops in late winter and early 2008 and at the UK Cereals Event. Other technology transfer initiatives are planned in autumn 2008.
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