Drying & Storage
There is an essential need to dry grain quickly and effectively after harvest and before storage to retain maximum quality, to attain a moisture content sufficiently low to minimize infestation by insects and microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, etc.), and to prevent germination.
Wherever possible, it is traditional to harvest most grain crops during a dry period or season and simple drying methods such as sun drying are adequate. However, maturity of the crop does not always coincide with a suitably dry period. Furthermore, the introduction of high-yielding varieties, irrigation, and improved farming practices has led to the need for alternative drying practices to cope with the increased production, and grain harvested during the wet season as a result of multi-cropping.
Natural methods of drying make use of exposure of the wet grain to the sun and wind. Artificial dryers employ the application of heat from combustion of fossil fuels and biomass resources, directly or indirectly, and in both natural and forced convection systems. Mechanical dryers, long used in developed countries, are finding increased application as farming and grain handling systems develop.