Grain storage guide

Safe, effective grain storage is key to assuring crop quality.

From grain store preparation to final dispatch, this best practice guidance will help you to minimise loss of premiums, through claims and rejections. Critically, it covers how to identify and manage hazards/risks and details the main grain storage targets (e.g. for moisture, temperature and cooling).

The case for safe grain storage

Compared with selling grain at, or near, harvest, later-sold grain usually receives a higher price (providing market specifications are met). Typically, feed wheat sold for a November movement attracts a £4/tonne premium over the harvest price, with May movement providing a further £7/tonne. Such economic incentives mean grain is often stored for long periods, prior to processing. During this time, grain quality and safety may deteriorate, without appropriate intervention.

Since the first edition (1999), our Grain storage guide has become a key reference for most assurance schemes. The guidance aims to help minimise risks in the supply chain and safeguard food safety for consumers. The original edition was endorsed by, among others, AIC, NFU, UKFM and MAGB. The fourth edition (2021) makes the content easier to navigate and understand.

Use HACCP to manage grain storage hazards

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is a risk-based approach that identifies, evaluates and controls hazards. It can be used within grain stores to help meet marketplace demands and expectations for safe food and feed.

Use HACCP to manage grain storage hazards

Preparing to store grain

Thorough grain store preparation and hygiene  – no matter how long the storage period – helps to reduce/eliminate grain storage risks. In addition cleaning, it is essential that equipment is fit for purpose, with sufficient staff training provided.

How to clean and prepare a grain store

Management of temporary grain stores

How to use a meter to measure grain moisture

Managing pests and fungi in grain stores

The main causes of spoilage in stored grain are fungi, insects and mites. Learn about the key pest species and how temperature and moisture content influence their growth and reproduction.

How the grain store environment affects pest levels

Monitoring insect and mite populations in grain stores

Treatments for the control of pest and mites in grain stores

Drying, cooling and moisture management in grain stores

Grain remains a ‘living’ crop – it respires and is susceptible to infection by moulds and infestation by pests. It is important to monitor temperature and moisture content, and to use targets to inform store management.

In-store drying

In-store cooling

In-store moisture

How to sample grain

It is important to understand and manage the quality of your grain. As part of this, accurate sampling is required to guide management and provide a robust record of all the grain that leaves the farm.

An introduction to grain sampling

Related information

Harvest Toolkit for cereals and oilseeds

Our Harvest Toolkit includes a wealth of information on market prices, Harvest Results, straw, good sampling practice, grain storage and grain marketing.

Harvest Toolkit

Grain dust

Use our guidance in conjunction with the advice on the precautions needed to prevent or adequately control exposure to grain dust.

Grain dust precautions from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Available in print

Order a printed copy