Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the United States. The country’s efficient farming sector has made the US the world’s largest exporter of food.
The crops grown in the United States are also used at home. For instance, livestock in the United States consume 5.9 billion bushels of grain every year.
This is good news for American farmers whose livelihood depends on growing and selling grain. Before the grain can be sold, it must be harvested and stored at the proper temperature and moisture.
An inefficient grain handling system can be a huge drain on profits. Remember, time is money. The longer it takes a farmer to handle their grain, the longer it will take to make a sale.
Luckily, with the right equipment, it’s possible to reduce your grain handling time. Let’s take a closer look at our favorite strategies for improving handling time.
Invest in a Grain Pump
One of the most time-consuming aspects of grain loading is transporting your grain from the field to your grain storage system. Completing this task quickly both saves money and protects the quality of your grain.
Many farmers transport grain by storing it in temporary grain piles. But this process is inefficient and exposes grain to moisture. If grain absorbs too much moisture, it will be unusable.
To speed up the grain handling process, consider using a grain pump. Grain pumps first became popular in Canada, but have recently gained traction in the United States.
A grain pump offers farmers the ability to move thousands of bushels of grain in an hour. But these pumps aren’t just for efficient handling. They also give farmers the opportunity to blend their own grain easily increasing the money that can be made from selling their grain.
With the help of a grain pump, farmers can load and unload several bins at one time. This ability greatly improves the farm’s saves time and money.
Of course, a grain pump is a sizable investment. That said, with the added capacity and options it provides for your farm, a grain pump can typically pay for itself.
Use Drying Equipment
Another factor that slows down the grain harvest to sale cycle is waiting for the grain to dry. If grain is loaded into storage containers before it is dry, the moisture can ruin it.
Simply put, if you can speed up the rate at which your grain dries, you can sell it sooner. One way to do this is by using natural gas or propane heaters as part of an aeration system. Or invest in a dedicated grain dryer. This advice is counterintuitive to many farmers. In an effort to conserve energy and save money, many farmers prefer to keep the temperature on their dryer low. Or eschew a drying system alltogether.
In reality, this approach costs more time and money. It is much more efficient to use grain drying equipment which allows farmers to better control the moisture and quality of their grain.
Another good way to decrease time to dry grain is by harvesting it earlier. When you harvest grain in summer, the air outside is hotter. This means that your dryer doesn’t have to work as hard to get the grain up to the necessary temperature.
You can also improve your drying time by performing regular maintenance on your dryer. Measure the time it takes your grain to dry and calculate the dryer’s efficiency. This will help you determine whether your equipment is in good repair, and when it’s time to get a replacement.
Automate Grain Monitoring
Farming has always been manual-labor intensive. That said, it also requires a lot of brain power.
For instance, farmers must monitor their equipment, and make sure it’s in good repair. They also must pay careful attention to the environment in which they store their grain. The wrong temperature or humidity level could potentially ruin an entire batch of grain.
Luckily, technology has made it possible for farmers to manage a lot of these factors with technology. Using these automated features helps farmers to be more precise and consistent.
Here are a couple of ways technology and automation can improve your grain loading process.
Streamline Grain Storage
Technology can take your grain pump to the next level. An automated computer program keeps track of your grain storage system. This allows it to determine where your grain should be stored.
Because the software constantly monitors your grain storage, it can make accurate and efficient decisions. This automation can easily eliminate storage losses and reduce drying time.
Keep Tabs on Atmosphere
Another way technology saves farmers time is by monitoring the grain’s storage environment. Using a variety of gauges, your computer system can monitor the temperature and humidity of your grain.
Also, if there is a problem, the system can automatically correct it. So, if there is too much moisture in the grain, the computer may turn on fans, or raise the temperature.
You can also set the exact conditions that you want for your grain. Simply input the temperature and humidity you need, and the computer program will take care of the rest.
Or, if a particular storage bin is having a problem, the system will automatically divert grain away from it. This can minimize the amount of grain lost by a system malfunction.
Use Your Smartphone or Tablet
One of the best features of a computerized grain system is its convenience. These systems can be integrated into just about any existing setup.
Not only that, but you can also seamlessly control your entire grain system from your smartphone. This allows farmers to control their grain system remotely.
Some apps even pair with a camera attached to your storage bin. This gives farmers the ability to monitor their grain from the screen of their smartphone.
If you are not interested in using your phone to monitor your grain, you can consider using a tablet. With most systems, you can simply mount the tablet on the side of your storage container. This makes control of the grain system accessible to you and all of your employees.
If you’d like to improve your facility’s grain handling ability, contact us. Our team of experts will work with you to develop a custom system that meets your needs.