Germination is an important stage in the life cycle of a crop because it represents the moment when the embryo contained in the seed begins its growth process, becoming first a sprout and then the actual crop.
In particular, maize germination occurs through the combination of oxygen, external temperature and water absorption equal to 30% of its weight, which allows the development of the first radicle.
Germinability, on the other hand, is a factor indicative of the health of the grain or seed: in the case of maize, for example, a high level of germinability reveals not only the good storage conditions of the seed, but also its ability to generate a profitable harvest. For other types of grain, such as barley for example, it is essential to maintain germinability in order to ensure better fermentation exploited in malting to produce beer or spirits.
But how is a high level of germinability achieved? Simple: by processing, stabilising and storing maize in the correct way. Let’s find out how.
Drying corn for seed: why it is so important
As we know, the main enemy of freshly harvested maize is moisture: excessively high levels could in fact cause the proliferation of fungi and mould and premature germination of the grain, which would not only compromise quality but also cause major economic losses.
The moisture level of maize is typically between 18-25%, and this figure is particularly influenced by the harvest season and the local climate. If we consider that, for optimal and risk-free storage, the moisture level of the grain must reach 13%, we can understand how important it is to carry out the drying process right from the start in order to reduce the moisture level and keep both the germinability and the properties of the maize intact. In addition, it is crucial that the drying is homogenous, i.e. that the entire grain mass is dried equally without any hotspots where the moisture is too high.
Its characteristics make maize a resistant cereal that can tolerate high drying temperatures. Before proceeding, however, it is necessary to make a distinction between maize for human/animal consumption and maize for sowing.
In the former, in fact, it is important that the nutritional properties of the food be preserved, not its germinability; whereas for the latter, it is precisely germinability that is the most important factor to preserve.
Depending on the type of use of the maize, therefore, it is fundamental to choose the correct temperature and drying times: for that intended for food, even 120 °C can be reached, which allows a reduction of 4-5 % of humidity per hour of drying, while, for that intended for sowing, the grain will be subjected to lower temperatures and for longer times. All this means that the grain is not exposed to sudden temperature changes that could compromise the viability of its germinative components.
Se ti interessa approfondire il tema dell’essiccazione del mais, gli esperti Mecmar hanno preparato altri articoli ricchi di spunti:
If you are interested in learning more about maize drying, the Mecmar experts have prepared other articles full of ideas:
- Discover how to quickly dry corn to reduce losses
- How do you remove moisture from grains? Here the best way
- Maize dryer machine: here 4 features to evaluate its quality
Mecmar dryers: cutting-edge technology for high germinability
Drying is therefore a crucial step in maintaining the germinability of the grain and reducing the risk of losses: but what solutions can be relied on to carry out this process safely and with a high yield?
Drying to maintain germinability is a more delicate process than drying grain for human or animal consumption: it is therefore necessary to use optimised machinery. Mecmar dryers have been developed to achieve high drying homogeneity, a high degree of germinability and cleanliness of the grain during drying. Three advantages, all from the same machine.
The Mecmar team has designed several series of mobile dryers, versatile products that are easy to use in any outdoor conditions for high-performance drying with many advantages. Customisable according to the size of your farm and your production requirements, they guarantee a precise, respectful and uniform process for all types of grain.
In order not to compromise the germinability of seed maize, it is important to act promptly after its harvest. Properly dried and stored maize retains its germinability and, in turn, the kernels will be able to produce a profitable harvest.
Are you interested in receiving more details on how Mecmar dryers work to best preserve the germinability of maize, or do you have some simple curiosity? Do not hesitate to contact us: our team is always at your disposal.