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Harvest, Storage Moisture
September 18, 2006

Its recommended to harvest at no less than 15-18% moisture to reduce and minimize split beans and checked seed coats, which may split with further handling. Shattering can be a problem in dry conditions; cut and windrow at night or early morning. Cut when some pods are dry and most are yellow. Straight harvest of bush type beans requires floating cutter bar equipment. Harvest before killing frost to improve quality.

Research has shown pinto beans should be stored at temperatures of 40 F or cooler to maintain color and cooking quality.  If the beans cannot be kept cool, the moisture content must be low enough to permit storage without deterioration at typical summer temperatures. The recommended moisture content for edible beans to minimize the growth of mold is about 13% at 70 F. Pinto beans darken rapidly when exposed to light, so they should be stored in a dark environment.

For more information on dry bean harvest and storage, go online to the North Dakota State University Dry Bean page,

or the Northarvest Bean Growers Association web site,  click on Grower Information then Research & Production Library  see Harvest & Storage Management.

New Technology Makes Bin Checking Easier

Grain bins are getting bigger  its common for bins that go up today to have a capacity of 25,000 to 35,000 bushels or more.  However, theres technology available today that helps keep tabs of stored grain temperature.

Various components and systems are commercially available that operate on the principle of temperature cables that hang down inside of a bin. The cables help track stored grain temperature, even insect activity. 
Readings can be gathered outside of a bin via a hand-held monitoring device, or remotely transmitted back to a PC.  The sensors help determine when and how long to run aeration fans, and when to turn them off.

Bigger bins might need two or three cables instead of one, and even then, the cables arent foolproof.  Since grain acts as an insulator, a temperature cable might not detect hot spots just a few feet away.

The systems should be viewed as just one more tool to consider for managing stored grain. Having a cable or two or three is going to tell growers more about the temperature of the stored grain than just opening the top of the bin and looking in, or not doing any checking at all, says
Ken Hellevang, extension engineer at North Dakota State University.

OPI Systems is a Canadian company that makes the grain storage tracking systems; Custom Marketing Company of
West Fargo, N.D. ( and Westeel (, with a location in Fargo) are two distributors in the U.S.  Others can be found on the OPI Systems web site (  under Customer Support link, see OPI Dealer Network. 


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: