Post-Harvest Handling and Storage

Harvesting Sorghum
  1. Drying
  • Drying is the reduction of moisture to about 11-13% moisture content recommended for storage.
  • Sorghum panicles are spread on clean flat ground, tarpaulin, and cemented floor, mats, or on rocks under the sun for 3-4 days.
  • Proper drying of sorghum improves the quality of the grain and storability.
  • It can be stored for long without going moldy, resulting in good quality grain and a better market.
  1. Threshing and winnowing
  • Threshing is the removal of grain from the panicles.
  • It is usually done by women who manually beat the well-dried sorghum panicles with a stick or pound it in a mortar with a pestle to release the grain.
  • It is recommended that threshing should be done on mat, tarpaulin, rock or cemented floor as opposed to bare ground to minimize contamination reduce grain spillage.
  • Winnowing is then done to remove trash and avoid mechanical seed mixing.
  • Keep the harvested grain in hermetic plastic bags properly tied to avoid seed mixing.
  • Grain should be stored in clean containers at 12% moisture content to minimize damage by molds and storage insect pests.
  • A high number of cracked or broken grain will facilitate the activities of storage pests and so sorting of undesired panicles should be done (diseased, poorly filled).
  • Store the produce in a cool dry place free from vermin.
  1. Storage and packing
  • The principal aim for storing sorghum is to maintain the crop in prime condition for as long as possible until the economic market value has risen and also for food security. Sorghum is mainly stored unthreshed in granaries.
  • The granaries should be rat-proof to prevent grain damage.
  • If sorghum is stored as grain, it is usually placed in drums or gunny bags and then packed in a store on pallets.
  • It is important that bags are stacked on pallets at about 15 cm above the ground and about 75cm away from walls damage due to molds resulting from high moisture content.
  • Advantages of proper stacking: prevent dampness from floor and wall being absorbed by the stored sorghum grains, ease of cleaning the floor and the walls, ease of counting of the bags in the store, and ease of inspection of produce attack by pests.
  • Treat seed with recommended chemical like Actellic, or Malathion dust.
  • Some farmers mix grain with wood ash.
  • Suitable grain packaging materials such as jute bags, cloth bags, carton boxes and tins should be used.
  • The harvested crop can also be stored in cribs or in warehouses.
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