Supplemental heat or a grain dryer? Tips for the step between just air and drying

A difficult harvest will push farmers to figure out ways to allow a little more harvesting done or protect what is already in the bin. Getting grain fit to store safely is always a challenge, but if a dryer is at capacity or not an option, can supplemental heat be enough?

Rene Deschamps, with Ag Growth International (AGI), says that supplemental heat attached to aeration fans is one option to help safely store grain that may have come off the field with higher-than-ideal moisture levels.

Deschamps offers a brief description of how the company’s supplemental heater works: “It operates on natural gas or propane, it can operate on either/or simply by changing your selector valve. You can operate on both gases. It bolts directly to an existing fan that you would have on your bin, and it’s got its own small electronic ignition that supplies the spark for the gas,” he says. (Story continues below)

Deschamps wants to make sure that it’s clear the unit is a supplemental heater, not a dryer, but it will help you bring your gain down a couple of points, when the cooler fall air is not cooperating.

“Generally, grain needs about a 10 degree temperature in order to release moisture into the air that is being blown through it. So, when you can have up to a 25 degree heat rise from the ambient temperature coming into the fan we can accomplish twenty-five to thirty degree temperatures,” he says.

You do not have to worry about the heater malfunctioning and cooking your grain, Deschamps says. “It comes with safety features so there’s a high limit heat switch. If your fan happened to stop it’ll warm up and shut your heater off (with) your gas supply. There’s also air flow monitors or sensors going through the unit. So, there again everything is CSA approved and ready to be used in Western Canadian conditions.”

There were many interesting things to see at this years Agri-Trade show in Red Deer. You can check out RealAgriculture’s coverage here.

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