As a farmer, you know the importance of proper grain storage. Before you can safely store your grain, it needs to be at the proper moisture. Maybe you already have a grain dryer or have been considering an upgrade to a newer or larger dryer. Whatever your circumstances, you want to be sure your hard-earned money goes into the right investment.
How can you choose the best grain drying method for your operation? What are some factors to weigh while making your decision?
Read on for guide to choosing the right grain drying method for you.
Which Grain Drying Method Is Right for You?
There’s no easy answer to that question. Here are some factors to consider:
- How many bushels you produce
- What equipment you have
- How much labor is available
- How much projected growth you foresee
For drying up to 80,000 bushels, an in-bin system with natural air, a low temperature heater, or a high temperature heater with stirring may be sufficient.
However, for an operation with more than 80,000 bushels per season, you may consider a portable, Mixed Flow or Tower Dryer to really improve your drying time and quality. However, output isn’t the only consideration. Here are some other important factors to consider before making your decision.
Focus on ROI
With grain prices steadily dropping, saving costs is a top priority, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to invest in equipment. Consider your return on investment (ROI). A new drying system could save you in efficiencies in the long run.
A new dryer may increase your yields by enabling you to complete harvest early. Drying your grain quickly will protect the quality and maximize its market value. When you consider these benefits, the upfront price tag may be worth it.
Fuel efficiency also plays a role in improving your ROI. Continuous mixed-flow or tower dryer may have a higher price tag but they use much less energy than a portable dryer.
Many growers report great results with a mixed-flow dryer, which has better fuel efficiency than a cross-flow tower dryer.
Another factor to consider is one of the various farm grants available. This is a great option for those with worn-out or inefficient equipment. Contact the equipment dealer or your local USDA office to learn more about eligibility.
Calculate Wet Bin and Dryer Capacity
When tabulating their grain harvest, many farmers calculate how many bushels they harvest each hour. Others divide the total bushels harvested each day by 24 hours.
Another method is calculating the number of bushels you expect to harvest each season. Be sure to include downtime and any expected growth over the next 10 years. Finally, determine how many days your equipment needs to complete the harvest. This calculation will put you in a better position to choose a wet bin and dryer capacity to meet your needs.
Plan for Future Growth
Most grain dryers last between 20 and 30 years. Since most US farms increase their yield each year, you need a dryer that can grow with you.
A decade from now, you could produce as much as 30% more grain, even if you don’t expand your acreage. For this reason, you need to look at your grain dryer as a long-term investment.
For a tower dryer, growers can select the size model they currently need. Then, a few years later, they can add modules to accommodate their increased yield.
Growers with a mixed-flow dryer can equip the dryer with motors and electrical components required for the most tiers they’ll need. When the time comes for an upgrade, those important features are already in place.
Whichever type of dryer you choose, be sure that it will care for your needs now and down the road.
Because a grain dryer is an expensive investment, you need to be sure you’re choosing the right one for your farm.
We invite you to browse our selection of high-quality bins and dryers. You can also give us a call at (208) 932-1333 to discuss any questions you may have.