A better product – Grain cooling can help equalize moisture content, and even eliminate the need to turn the grain or move it from its silo until it is ready to be sold. It also can be employed on many varieties of grain including wheat, barley, beans, oil seeds, rice, and corn—and can reduce cracking problems in the last two grains. (Grain coolers are particularly popular in Asian markets where high humidity can spoil the taste of rice.)
“Here is a similar example: say you have an average mill producing 250 tones of grain at a certain speed. The mill’s capacity is maybe 300 tones, but product drying causes a production bottleneck. Using a grain cooler could allow them to speed up from 250 to 300 tones, and that extra 50 tones a day multiplied by 250 days a year might bring them an additional revenue of US$4 million a year.”
Less rejection – Grain coolers can ensure reduced losses from damage caused by insects, mould and rodents, or from the need to turn the grain, which creates dust and damages grain. In some instances, an entire load of grain might be rejected because of the presence of a
single insect –dead or alive. To sell this grain may require taking the grain away and running it through an aspirator, or even driving the shipment away to try to sell it to another mill.
Lower energy costs— Aeration versus cooling – In hot summer conditions, it may be necessary to run an aeration fan 24 hours a day, sometimes for 10 weeks, versus reducing the temperature of all the grain in the silo by running a grain cooler for three weeks.
In Australia, the wheat comes in from harvest at 12 percent, so drying is not needed. But in the UK the wheat is harvested at 16 percent and then using a grain drier might only take it down by 0.75 percent, giving you 15.2 percent. You might then have to run it through the drier twice to bring it down to maybe 14.7 percent.”
Chemical-free grain conditioning – Using a grain cooler can often allow a chemical-free approach to controlling pests, moulds and mycotoxins. “With grain cooling there is often no need for chemical treatment,” Kolb explained, “which in turn allows you to sell certain grains such as barley to breweries, which are forbidden to buy chemically treated barley since the grain is dead and so you cannot make beer. The same is true of seeds. To be considered organic, you need to use cooling because chemical treatment is not allowed.”
Grain coolers—Necessary in light of climate change?
Summers are getting hotter worldwide, and with the entire Northern Hemisphere experiencing a summer-long heat wave, the importance of grain cooling has taken on even greater significance. In Europe, temperatures are generally lower, but some regions in Spain, Portugal and Greece can have very high temperatures in summer.
Summary: Advantages of grain cooling:
Compared to just aeration, grain coolers cool grain faster, speeding production
Controls, mould and mycotoxins, and insect infestation often without the need for fumigants or reduces fumigation costs
No chemical treatment—good for organic produce
Reduced energy costs for grain driers
Keeps grains “alive”
Grain retains moisture and, therefore, weight
Eliminates the need to turn the grain, saving energy costs and reducing grain damage and grain dust (and the risk of a dust explosion)
Cooling often eliminates or reduces the need to use a grain dryer
Cooling works on many grains, including wheat, oil seed, beans, rice and barley
Cooling can help equalise the moisture content of stored grains
Rain cooling has been researched and proven for over four decades
Improved worker safety results from reduced use of fumigants
As less energy is needed to cool the grain to safe storage conditions compared to drying it, substantial quantities of energy can be saved, reducing the impact on global warming.