Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Maize dryness testing before storage
Aspergillus spp., Fusarium spp.
Recognize the problem
are a common problem in maize production. Some farmers are storing maize
before the cobs and grains are dry enough. Then fungal diseases germinate on
the grains and destroy them.
Farmers must dry or
wait for their maize grains to dry in order to avoid germination of fungal
diseases in the storage period. Well dried grains have only about 12 to 15%
moisture, a cob that has just been harvested can have up to 50% moisture.
Well dried cobs and grains maintain quality (Bubotu in Tonga), and the grains
can be kept for a long period (up to 12 months). This assures food can be
stored in households for a long period. After drying, the farmer needs to do
a home grain dryness test to make sure very low moisture content (Mudumu in
Tonga) is reached. There are three test methods.
the harvested maize cobs on drying racks off the ground and not in a heap and
if possible do not spread onto the ground for drying. Alternatively, store
them in well ventilated open-air flow barns.
- 2 to 5 weeks of drying process is needed in
dry sunny conditions.
- Sample (kusala in Tonga) 10 cobs that were
- This is usually done at shelling after short
storage in the ban.
- 1. Break a few grains using teeth and if the
grain breaks without any difficulty then the grain has reached its low
storage moisture content.
- 2. The second test method is to remove 10
grains from the 10 selected cobs and put them in a dry tin. Tightly close it
for 2 to 3 days and if there is no heating or fungal disease, it has reached
its low storage moisture content.
- 3. Alternatively,
a seed moisture tester can be jointly bought by a farming community, or may
be used via a service provider.
- If dryness testing
shows that cobs are still too wet proceed with drying.
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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