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Build your own grain drying system
Farmers are increasingly building their own grain handling
systems and by-passing local elevators.
Grain dryer systems are an integral part of farm grain storage, and
there are many choices, according to Dr. Kenneth J. Hellevang, PE, Extension
Agricultural Engineer of North Dakota State University.
Natural drying has no restrictions on the amount of grain
dried but has a limit on the initial moisture and can take several weeks to
accomplish. Layer drying is similar but
grain with higher moisture can be dried as long as the amount is limited in
depth to what the fan can move air through.
A layer that is too deep will spoil because the air cannot penetrate the
grain. Both of these systems are common
to smaller, older grain storage bins.
Many farmers use bin batch dryers, some with a stirring
device to reduce moisture variation throughout the bin. Some batch bins have a sweep auger that
removes dry grain and transfers it to another cooling bin for storage.
Column dryers can be portable and the drying action takes
place outside the storage bin. 2-3 hours
per batch of up to 1,000 bushels may be possible with a column batch dryer. The normal cycle is
fill-head-cool-unload. Some column dyers
are continuous fill.
T o increase efficiency,
you can partially dry a batch using the high-temperature method and
finish with a natural air system.
Another way to attain efficiency is to use dryeration. Hot grain is removed from the drying bin
about 1-2% wetter than desired allowed to temper without airflow for up to 6
hours. After the temperature equalizes
in the kernel, the cooling fan is turned on and the temperature is taken down
to the desired level.