The sheaves harvested are spread in the sun to dry for 24 to 48 hours. This makes threshing easier and reduces the moisture content to a convenient level (14-15%) for processing and storing.
After drying, the sheaves are stacked. To facilitate handling when threshing and reduce bird damage, the stack should be circular or rectangular, and the sheaves set so that the panicles are towards the center.
Leaving the panicles to dry for too long reduces grain quality and exposes the panicles to rat or bird damange, but if panicles are too moist threshing becomes difficult and bacteria and fungi may develop on them during storage.