Grain handling system upgrade
Gary Porter anticipates a swift and smooth harvest of his 2011 corn crop. The modern grain handling system, installed on his farm in north Missouri in 2010, has given him the extra confidence to make that prediction.
Porter’s unique system features four GSI bins with 160,000-bushel capacity, a dryer powered by natural gas, and a pneumatic system that transfers corn into storage bins.
Corn harvest at Porter Farms is carried out with clockwork precision. “The key to a smooth harvest is to avoid bottlenecks,” Porter says. “We have to keep our combine and grain cart going full speed.”
Grain trucks haul the corn from the field to the Porters’ 25,000-bushel wet holding bin. From there, an automated system is set to kick on the augers when needed to fill the adjacent top-dry bin. The top-dry holds 1,200 bushels of corn right in the roof, where heated air brings corn up to a preset temperature; then, a set of chutes opens at the bottom of the top dry, and it lets the corn fall to the lower portion of the bin.
• New grain handling system helps avoid bottlenecks at harvest.
• The system includes four bins, a dryer and pneumatic grain transfer.
• Bin Manager system monitors grain temperature and moisture.
“It does that three times an hour, 400 bushels each time, so it adds up to 1,200 bushels an hour,” Porter points out. “When the top-dry bin is full [it holds about 15,000 bushels], I can start transferring with my pneumatic system to my big storage tanks. It blows corn through the tubes, up the side of the wall, into the top of the storage bins. Aeration in those bins will cool the grain down, so we can store it for the rest of the winter.”
Another feature of the new grain storage facility is the Bin Manager system. “There are cables hanging down from the roof inside the bin at about five locations, depending on bin size and diameter,” Porter says. “This monitors the grain temperature and moisture.”
Each bin has a console where Porter can select each cable, and areas within each cable, to find out what the temperature is in the grain. “That lets me monitor what the grain is doing at different depths,” he says. “There’s no possible way you could know what is going on in that corn 30 feet down without this system.”
The system has already paid off. “One morning last fall I was checking the bins and one cable indicated a hot spot about 8 feet off the floor. It kept spreading to other cables,” Porter recalls. “We increased the aeration and started moving grain. Without this system, there is no telling how many bushels I might have lost due to grain going out of condition.”
The Bin Manager system is set so the fans come on automatically, 24 hours a day, if the system senses the need to add air. “It takes care of things while I sleep,” Porter says. “I may wake up one morning and see that one of the fans is running. That’s because a sensor detected temperature above a preset amount. It cools the grain down, and then once everything is OK, it shuts it back off.”
Porter plants the latest field-production and contest-plot corn hybrids on his farm. “The new hybrids have wide-ranging moisture content,” he notes. “It’s one more reason to have a good grain dryer and monitoring system.”
This article published in the September, 2011 edition of MISSOURI RURALIST.