Now is the time to stay alert for silo fires.

Silo fires are a big concern with the dry conditions we are seeing in many corn fields this year.

Several have already occurred this season, explain farm safety instructor Eric Rickenbach and Penn State Extension educator Gregory Martin.

Ideal moisture for silage corn in conventional upright silos is around 63-68%, and in air-limiting silos around 55-60%.

Corn that is too dry may need added water as it is blown into the silo. Silo blow pipes should be grounded by placing a heavy-gauge wire on the pipe with a hose clamp and then running the wire down to a copper grounding rod.

Should you see or smell smoke, call 911 for the fire department to come out and assess the situation. Dumping water into the silo may not be the best way to put out the fire first thing, so call the fire station so crews can work quickly to get the situation under control.

Always keep a working ABC class fire extinguisher in both the feed room and barn just in case you are lucky enough to catch a fire early.


Heidi Reed is a Penn State Extension educator in York County.


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