Moisture content (MC) greatly influences the actions required to successfully preserve newly harvested grain. MC that is too high increases risk of spoilage and requires immediate action.
MC that is too low can leave a great deal of money on the table due to less water weight. Moreover, there is further loss of value downstream from higher breakage rates, lower palatability for livestock, longer processing and less desirable food products.
There is an optimum MC for each grain that delivers the greatest value. This is tied primarily to its final use though it can affect outcomes during shipping as well. Usually this level is just below the threshold for spoilage. Monitoring with high performance sensors during storage enables precise control to target this sweet spot, increase the ROI and remove worry.
Thoughtful harvest practices provide some control of the MC going into storage. These include waiting for dew to leave after sunrise and more field drying. Artificial drying before storage may be required but can be avoided in most cases with well designed storage/conditioning systems.
However sometimes weather and seasons present extremes with only bad choices. Good long term planning can payoff handsomely in these extreme years — perhaps even saving a crop. Year in and year out being equipped to economically manage MC after harvest and during storage pays big dividends.