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18 - PRAIRIE POST - Friday, September 9, 2011


Tips for using natural air grain drying


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 Grain Handling For complete and up-to-date equipment listings visit » rbauction.com Natural air grain drying is a common practice on


many farms, but there is often an opportunity to increase efficiency and effectiveness of these systems. These systems are most effective when air temperatures are high and humidity is low. As a result using the system to start harvest earlier — hopefully August, is much more effective than trying to use them in late September and October when air temperatures are low. The ideal situation to use these systems is when air temperatures are above 10 C and relative humidity is below 70 per cent. For most effective use


JOHN


IPPOLITO SASK.


AGRIC.


you should be starting with grain that is about four per cent above dry. Once there is enough grain in the bin to cover all the duct work systems you can start the fans. Volume of air flow is important.


For systems used in the west central and south west


parts of the province .75 cubic foot per minute per bushel is required. For areas such as North Battleford and Saskatoon 0.75 would be the minimum air flow and 1.0 cubic foot per minute/bu would be preferred. Air volumes below these levels may not dry the


grain in an appropriate time frame. Fans can be run until the drying front has moved totally through the grain, but at this point the bottom is likely to be well below dry. This results in some


lost revenue from the weight loss from over drying. Moving the drying front partially through and then mixing to get the bin to average dry will maximize your revenue. Running the fans during evenings and some rain


may cause some re-wetting of the lower portion of the bin, but it is not significant. Adding moisture back to grain is harder than removing it. Canola is very difficult to dry using natural air systems. The biggest reason is that achieving adequate air flow is extremely difficult without very large fans.We also have the problem that many systems were originally designed for cereals and pulses and have perforations in the screens may be too large for canola. It is probably best to use the natural air systems to


improve harvest efficiency on the pulses and cereals so you can harvest the canola when it is dry. For more information on natural air grain drying or drying grain in general refer to Grain Drying — FAQ’s and Natural Air Grain Drying on www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca or contact the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture regional office at 306 463-5513. (John Ippolito is the Regional Crop Specialist, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Kindersley.)


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