As we prepare for harvest, I can’t help but think how this unusual spring will impact growers and not just from a yield perspective. Between a pushed back fall and the itch to get in the field, there will likely be higher than normal moisture levels harvested, making dryer efficiency more important now than ever. To ensure your drying equipment is running at peak efficiency and to prevent any downtime, check out these five simple tips.
- Pre-season & in-season maintenance.
- On portable dryers, check for any obstructions that can interrupt the grain flow in columns and
- For in-bin drying systems, make sure that the area under the bin floor allows for free
movement of air and heat. Check the transition that connects the fan and heater to your bin for
any leaks. This can have a major impact on efficiency.
- While the burner is running with grain in the columns, ensure you have a blue flame; a yellow
flame indicates you are wasting gas.
- Consider emptying your dryer weekly during harvest to clean out the accumulation of fines and
bees wings. These can reduce airflow costing you time and money.
2. Run plenum at a higher temperature. Many assume that reducing the plenum temperature when removing fewer points of moisture will save gas. The opposite is true. According to Gary Woodruff of GSI, turning the heat down takes more gas per bushel dried.
3. Verify that the actual grain moisture matches your moisture control readings. This will help prevent the unnecessary expense of over-drying. The last few moisture points that remain in the drying process are the most expensive to remove on a cost per point basis.
4. Be mindful of different corn varieties. Kernel characteristics can vary which can affect dry down. Monitor your dryer closely when switching varieties so you can adjust the settings accordingly. This will help you run efficiently.
5. When possible, transfer hot grain into storage bins to cool down. The process of cooling in-bin not only gets more bushels through the dryer each day, but it also helps in grain quality by reducing stress cracks. However, only 50,000-bushel bins or less should be used for cooling. Cooling requires ⅓ to ½ CFM of air per bushel: larger bins develop enough static pressure to make that outflow difficult to obtain.