Soybean Handling and Storage

Portable Conveyor

Soybeans are subject to splitting during handling, so handle them gently. Belt conveyors, bucket elevators, and drag or mass conveyors provide the gentlest handling. But normal grain augers can be used if they are operated slow and full, and pneumatic or air-type conveyors can be used if the air to grain ratio is set properly and if lines are laid out with a minimum number of very gradual curves.

Avoid long drop heights in bean handling by frequently adjusting the position of conveyors or by using bean ladders or other devices that break long drops into a series of shorter drops. One handler of food- grade soybeans recommends 10 ft as the maximum height for any single drop.

Soybeans are usually traded on a 13% moisture basis, so it is to the farmer’s advantage to harvest, store, and sell soybeans as close to 13% moisture (wet basis) as possible. Soybeans that are wetter than 13% moisture are likely to mold under warm conditions and buyers usually apply shrink factors and drying charges when wet beans are delivered. On the other hand, soybeans that are drier than 13% moisture are more likely to split during handling and since they weigh less, fewer bushels are available for sale. If the storage temperature is kept below about 60°F, soybeans can usually be held for at least six months at 13% moisture without mold problems. For storage under warmer temperatures or for storage times longer than six months, however, the recommended moisture content is 11%.

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