How to store maize safely:
The harvest season in Kenya, spanning from November 2023 to March 2024, is a crucial time for farmers, particularly those who grow popular cereal crops like maize, beans, green grams, and cowpeas.
However, the joy of a bountiful harvest often turns into despair as post-harvest losses loom large.
Farmers grapple with challenges such as:
- Seed borers– That burrow through the grains feed and defecate on them making them unsuitable for human consumption
- Rats–that eat through the storage bags as they seek access to the grains thus exposing the seed to rot and futher degradation.
- and the menace of molds and fungi, giving rise to the notorious aflatoxins.
With all this things seeking to destroy your harvest, you can’t stay relaxed.
You have to find a way of dealing with them ONCE and FOR ALL
If that describes you… Welcome to this post where we talk about how to safely store your maize and other grains.
Let’s talk about…
Grain Storage Moisture content
Moisture content emerges as a critical factor in the storage equation.
High moisture levels become a breeding ground for molds and fungi.
Consequently, paving the way for aflatoxins to wreak havoc on stored produce.
As farmers, understanding the impact of moisture content on the storage of cereals and pulses is paramount.
Idealy, for most grains, the right moisture is 10-13%
“So how do you achieve the right moistore content?”
You may ask.
Here’s how to do it…
How to Achieve The Right Moisture Content For Safe Storage of Maize and other Grains
- Timely Harvesting:
Harvesting your grains at the right time is the first step in ensuring optimal moisture content.
Waiting too long may expose crops to unfavorable weather conditions, increasing the risk of high moisture levels. Harvest when the grains are mature but not overripe to achieve the desired moisture content.
- Proper Drying Techniques:
Employ effective drying techniques to remove excess moisture post-harvest.
Utilize methods such as sun drying, mechanical drying, or a combination of both, depending on the type of grains and environmental conditions.
Proper drying prevents the growth of molds and fungi during storage.
- Regular Monitoring:
Implement a robust monitoring system to regularly check the moisture content of stored grains.
Use moisture meters or other appropriate tools to assess and track moisture levels.
Regular monitoring allows for timely adjustments and interventions to maintain the desired moisture content.
- Well-Ventilated Storage Facilities:
Ensure that your storage facilities are well-ventilated.
Good air circulation helps prevent the buildup of humidity, reducing the risk of moisture-related issues.
Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining an optimal storage environment and achieving the right moisture balance.
- Temperature Control:
Maintain an appropriate storage temperature to complement your efforts in moisture management.
Cooler temperatures discourage the growth of molds and fungi, contributing to the overall preservation of grain quality.
Combining temperature control with proper ventilation enhances the effectiveness of your moisture management strategy.
- Use Hermetic Storage Bags to Store Your maize
Hermetic storage bags are a beacon of hope in the battle against post-harvest losses.
These airtight-watertight wonders create an environment that curtails the growth of molds and fungi, ensuring the integrity of your precious harvest.
Once you’ve properly dried your maize to a moisture content of 11-13%, store it in these bags.
The advantage of doing this will ensure no moisture ever gets to your grains again.
The use of hermetic bags stands as a testament to innovation in agriculture, offering a practical solution to a perennial problem.
By incorporating these six practices into your post-harvest routine, you can significantly increase the likelihood of achieving and maintaining the right moisture content for the storage of grains.
Remember that each type of grain may have specific moisture requirements, so tailor your approach accordingly to ensure the longevity and quality of your harvest.
To store Maize and other Grains Safely, Use a Proper Granary, Silo or Store:
Consider the storage environment as the silent orchestrator of post-harvest losses.
Proper storage conditions, including temperature and ventilation, play a pivotal role in preserving the quality of cereals and pulses.
By creating an optimal storage environment, farmers can significantly mitigate the risks of spoilage and aflatoxin contamination.
Dress the Seeds Using Storage Chenicals To Prevent Weevil Damage:
In the arsenal against storage pests, the popular Actellic Gold Dust emerges as a stalwart defender.
This seed dressing chemical acts as a formidable deterrent against grain borers, safeguarding your harvest from the relentless onslaught of these pests.
Investing in such protective measures is not just a choice but a necessity for safeguarding your hard-earned produce.
Conclusion and Way Forward:
Farmers, the call to action is clear.
As you revel in the fruits of your labor during this harvest season, spare a thought for the journey that follows.
Embrace hermetic storage bags and seed dressing chemicals like Actellic Gold Dust as your allies in the quest for post-harvest management.
Let us unite in the fight against losses, ensuring that the abundance you reap translates into prosperity for your livelihoods.
So, dear farmers, let the mantra be clear: Invest in hermetic bags, embrace Actellic Gold Dust, and safeguard your harvest.
Your fields are not just a source of livelihood; they are a promise of abundance waiting to be fulfilled.