There are a number of considerations when it comes to the storage and handling of pulses, but the two most important factors to think about are moisture and temperature. Whether storing just one winter, or a winter, spring, and summer, and maybe longer, ensuring pulses are conditioned for long-term storage is key.
“You want to make sure that the pulses are conditioned for long-term storage, and that means making sure that their moisture content is dropped down to a safe level, as well as their temperature,” says Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy manger, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.
Phelps says that the sooner temperatures get down to 10 degrees — and stay there, or lower — the longer is can store safely. Of course, that goes hand in hand with making sure the moisture content is also drawn down to an acceptable level. Otherwise, Phelps says, you run the risk of hot spots developing in the bin.
Areas of heating and spoilage, can be because of higher levels of seed moisture in grain, weed seeds, green material or some other source of moisture. Monitoring bin temperature is key, and if heating begins, farmers need to be ready to add air or even turn the bin, if necessary.
Of course, pulses are very susceptible to mechanical damage. The seed coat can be cracked or split, and that can cause issues with grading or with seed germination, if the seed is intended to be planted.
Phelps says gentle handling, such as with conveyors, a slower auger speed, and keeping augers full all can help decrease seed damage. Bean ladders may also be useful if there’s a long fall.