One year ago everybody geared up for grain drying and improved bins, or even added bins, after the 2009 terrible harvest. And what did we get? One of the best and earliest harvest seasons ever. If you bought a new dryer or bin or made improvements for 2010 harvest, that doesn't mean you made a bad decision. It just means that you're set for this year, no matter what happens. And if you didn't upgrade last year, consider that you lucked out. If you're going to make major upgrades, now is the time to consider it, while most companies that put up bins still have time to get the product and make plans.
A leg and all that goes with it lays in the barnlot of one farmer in central Indiana, delivered recently. He chose to upgrade his grain handling system and add storage instead of upgrading to a bigger, better tractor. He feels the increased storage space will pay, plus he can unload faster, and perhaps get away form using some small bins at outlying farms that slowed up not only harvest, but also haul-out operations once it was time to take the grain to town.
If you're redoing bins now, think about monitoring and aeration control systems. For years Eli Troyer, AgriDry, an Ohio business, hit his head against the wall, trying to get people to take a look at the possible advantage of aeration controllers that could do the job automatically. For the past few years now, the idea has finally caught fire. He went from a one-man band to a large business supporting several people.
One of the concepts he pushes besides using an in-bin controller for aeration is use of a grain spreader. His spreader installs at the tip of the bin, and tends to deliver grain evenly across the cone, preventing build-up of hot spots.
"What it really does is spread out the fines," Troyer says. "Fines clog up the core in the middle and play havoc with aeration. Using a grain spreader, you can spread the fines evenly throughout the bin, and they don't become concentrated enough in any one spot to mess up air flow.
Another option, of course, is to clean grain and remove the fines before they ever enter the bin. Some let then enter without a spreader, then core out bins. Troyer says his option makes a lot of sense, since the fines don't accumulate in one spot.