For those who are not conversant with grain processing, this is a process that entails cleaning, grading, sorting, dehulling, and milling to ensure the grains are edible. Since technology has advanced significantly over the years, there are different ways through which grains are processed.
Below are five things that you should know about grain processing:
1. How are the Grains Handled After the Post-Harvest?
After harvesting, you are supposed to implement specific steps to ensure you don’t incur losses during transportation, handling, storage, and manufacturing of the grains to add value using different technology forms. Biological, thermal, and chemical technologies usually help to increase the life of the grains. Some of the general steps after harvesting include cleaning, drying, milling, and storage.
2. Modern and Traditional Grain Handling
The grains are usually stored in bags before being cleaned or dried properly. Since technology has advanced greatly, the grains can be processed scientifically, and you can store them in a silo. Different handling mechanisms are also available, and they include a pneumatic conveyor and screw conveyor.
3. Drying Grains
When harvesting grains, they have moisture content amounting to 20-25 percent, which means they are susceptible to deterioration and fungal contamination. To safely store the grains and increase the shelf life, you need to dry the grains and ensure the moisture content goes down to 13-15 percent. The grain moisture levels and the storage temperature have a significant influence on the quality of the grains and the shelf life. In most cases, people would dry the grains under the sun. Although this technique is useful, it takes a considerable amount of time, and there will be non-uniformity which means the quality of the grains will be affected. The main reason why the grains are dried before being stored is to avoid microbial growth. If the grains are stored in a silo, aeration drying will come in handy.
All the methods used to dry the grains usually help maintain the moisture content and ensure that the control systems are specified. The moisture content control can be automatic or manual. When using advanced systems, some of the sensors that have been put in place include resistance thermometers, thermocouples, dry-bulb, and wet-bulb thermometers, infra-red pyrometers, and resistance sensors.
Milling entails separating different pieces that usually constitute the grain. The grains can be milled through wet milling or dry milling. Dry milling entails grinding and also shifting. On the other hand, wet milling entails soaking the grains and separating the protein, starch, oil, and fiber. Dry milling is suitable for grains such as wheat and rice. The final product is either flour, semolina, or grits, and it is dependent on the size of the grains.
For wet milling, the grains are first cleaned and then subjected to a controlled amount of water to ensure the kernel is moist. The inner endosperm is also softened. The soaking time will vary depending on factors such as the types of grains and their moisture level.
5. Packaging the Grains
There are different ways to store grains. They can be stored in containers or on the floor. The consumer packages for the grains usually consist of pouches that are heat-sealed. The packaging bags usually are made from paper or cotton twill.
Since grain processing yields different types of products, the manufacturer usually considers the consumer’s requirements first. The shelf life of the grains is also affected by the temperature and moisture content. To avoid issues such as insect growth and deterioration, the grains are supposed to be stored well. If the grains are stored well, the final product will be of good quality, and the end-consumers will get value for their money.