By: Roger Slaughter and Tom Miller, Grain Handling Equipment Sales
Whether you utilize a drying bin or have a stand-alone dryer, they both can cause some headaches if they are not operating efficiently. With a drying bin, you may be sick of grain not getting thoroughly dried, which lowers grain quality and can cause mold issues. If you have a stand-alone dryer and are using augers to move the grain from the dryer to the bin, you know how cumbersome and time consuming that process can be. Thankfully, there are a few facility tweaks that can help alleviate these issues.
For a drying bin, the first thing we check is that the current fan and heater are working properly. A fan that is vibrating or blowing fuses needs to be replaced. If the heater’s flame is yellow, it should also be replaced as it is burning excess gas. Be sure that you don’t start the heater and fan in an empty bin because the air will push up the floor, causing the floor supports to fall. If the fan and heater are working properly and grain is still not drying thoroughly, the next step is a bin audit.
We utilize an online bin audit program that helps us determine the number of fans, heaters, and ceiling j-vents a bin needs to operate efficiently. In some cases, just adding a few j-vents is all a bin needs for improvement. If a fan should be added, there is an option of an axial or centrifugal fan. Typically, a centrifugal fan moves more air and is much quieter than an axial fan, but does come with a higher price tag. A heater can also be added to a fan, as long as the bin has a stirring machine. A stirring machine is necessary to evenly heat the grain throughout the bin.
A common question we get is “how can I make sure my dryer system keeps up with the combine?” If you use augers to move grain from the dryer to the bin, you know the frustration of having to park the combine because of a slow drying process. Not only can it be time consuming to switch bins, but often the dryer pumps out grain faster than the augers can move it, thus delaying the drying process as a whole. A solution to this is replacing augers with a blower system. Here, an air pump pushes grain through a manifold tube system, which moves grain considerably faster than augers. Blower systems are great for multi-bin sites and makes switching bins a quick job. The blower system can be customized to fit your site and can maneuver any angle or turn.
We’ve implemented a variety of customized facility tweaks for many growers over the years that have made a big difference come harvest time. If you have any ideas or questions on how these improvements could apply to your operation, give us a shout at 319.679.2281.