The memory of the fall of 2009 with its poor grain quality and wet corn may linger, but it's now 2010 corn in the bin, unless you've already emptied the bin. And although you shouldn't encounter the problems many of you saw a year ago, there's no guarantee that your grain mass sitting inside each bin is in perfect condition.
In fact, grain should be checked on a regular schedule. And as you move toward spring and temperatures warm up, it's important that you pay attention to each bin and aerate it to warm it up carefully.
It will be easier to monitor if you have temperature cables in the bin. If you don't, it's an investment you may want to make before next season. Richard Stroshine at Purdue University and Charles Hurburgh at Iowa State University, two Extension grain storage specialists, both agree that even if you have temperature gauges in the grain mass, you may not pick up changes in temperature even a couple feet away.
Changes in temperature are often your first indication that something is wrong. As green goes out of condition, it begins to heat up. If there's a hot spot in the bin, it could be isolated. Grain is such a good insulator that even with cables and temperature sensors, you could miss it. But without temperature cables, there's no chance of even finding out if you have a problem, they say.
The other thing you can do is keep fines out of the bin. If you used a grain cleaner to remove them or a grain spreader to distribute fines throughout the bin, you shouldn't have a problem aerating. If you didn't and the fines are in the middle, and if you haven't cored the bin already, pull out a few loads to get the fines out, and make the remaining grain easier to aerate.
Bin controllers can also help, especially at this time of year. They can automatically sense when fans need to run and take care of that job for you. If you haven't made that investment yet, it's too late for the crop in the bin, but might be a good idea to make an investment in a modern system plus temperature cables before next season rolls around.
The worst decision you can make right now is to do nothing. If you're waiting before you sell, keep monitoring the grain!