Category: Farming Tips
Food grains are generally stored for sometime prior to consumption. The nutritional potential of harvested produce should be fully utilized and it is therefore imperative that proper care is taken during storage for better preservation of quality as we preserve for prosperity.
During storage, losses occur due to various factors. A few dos and don’ts are given for guidance during storage (but not limited to):
- Check warehouses against leakage of rain water and defective drainage.
- No spilled grain or dust to be kept dumped here or there in warehouses.
- Proper stacking and adequate alleyways are the pre – requisites of scientific storage.
- Day to day aeration be given on sunny days to keep the warehouses cool and dry.
- Warehouse cleaning be done at the beginning or end of each day.
- First in first out rule be observed.
As indicated above, during storage losses occur due to different factors and I would therefore focus mainly on two (2) factors viz: Insects and moisture content
Insects are often responsible for severe losses of the nutritive value in food grains. As a result of their feeding activities, the quality of the grain is lowered, germination is reduced or abnormalities occur during germination.
It should be understood that food grains do not generate or germinate insects. Insects observed in grains will have come from various sources e.g. mode of transport, the floor, walls, roof of the building etc.
It is therefore ideal that inspection be carried out more often on stored products for early detection of infestation and timely control.
It is essential that the moisture content of food grains be known when they are accepted for storage. Quality deterioration during storage virtually depends on the level of moisture in products.
No food grains with moisture content higher than the safe acceptable level must be accepted for storage. If no moisture meter is available and there is reason to think that the produce has moisture content in excess of the safe limit, the produce should not be accepted until it has been tested with a moisture meter.
However, farmers have their own methods of assessing the amount of moisture in grains such as:
- Pressing them with thumb nails
- Biting them
- Smelling a handful of them.
It is nevertheless important to keep dried grain as it prevents germination and restricts the growth of bacteria, fungi and development of insects during storage.