The importance of grain cooling often plays "second fiddle" to grain drying, something which is not the case this year, according to John McArthur, managing director of McArthur Agriculture, an engineering firm which designs, installs and maintains grain processing and storage systems.

Combines have been badly affected by this heat, as it reaches extreme temperatures. Below 6 percent oilseed rape is too dry and can't be crushed, meaning it is having to stay in the field, as well as barley being reported to be overheating in storage despite being "bone dry" on intake.

The company reports that we should consider measures of re-introducing moisture to crops or managing overheating in stores, as warming temperatures are due to become normal and arable farmers need to be prepared.

Safe storage of grain depends on moisture and temperature – the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) offers a safe storage time calculator, which enables users to calculate how many days a crop can be stored at a given moisture and temperature while remaining safe from risks which include mould, germination and insects.

BDC Systems offers low volume ventilation equipment such as their air stacks, air spears and corraducts alongside low volume fans to tackle the temperatures. Keeping fresh air in storage will help to keep temperatures under control.

Alternatively, grain dryers can be used for cooling – as experienced by Andrew Nicol, a West Yorkshire farmer who discovered his barley had risen by nearly 35 degrees in the grain store overnight. Temperatures were brought back under control by blowing ambient air through grain being mixed and cleaned in a Mecmar mobile grain drier.

McArthur Agriculture imports the FrigorTec grain cooler, which uses a refrigeration system to ensure delivery of cool, dry air. Cooling capacities range from 30 to 1200 tonnes a day and require an existing air distribution system. It is able to deliver guaranteed cooling in grain stores as the need for reliable cooling solutions increases.

For more information on McArthur Agriculture visit their website, HERE.

For more information on FrigorTec visit their website, HERE.

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