An agri-tech solution to reducing grain storage waste
By Martin Lishman
Thirty percent of yearly food waste on UK farms is cereals, with a value of £26m for wheat alone, according to data collected in 2017 by the charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme).
This, coupled with unexpected events such as extreme winter flooding and the coronavirus pandemic that lead to panic buying of £1billion worth of food in just three weeks, means it has never been more important to ensure flexibility and security of our food supply systems.
There is huge potential to reduce the amount of waste by simply promoting best storage practice, says Martin Lishman sales director Ian Clayton-Bailey, who points out that the company’s Barn Owl Wireless systems have helped farmers all over the UK optimise their crop storage conditions, reduce waste and retain a higher-quality yield.
“The introduction of Barn Owl Wireless systems to crop stores 10 years ago gave UK farmers a newfound ability to monitor and control crop stores remotely and get the most out of their stored crop. Our current need to avoid unnecessary travel to remote sites, and stay safely isolated back on the farm, has reinforced this benefit. The wireless crop sensors, fan controllers and online portal provide not only a first-hand view into the crops condition, but also the ability to turn cooling fans on and off using fully automatic fan control modes when it is most efficient to do so.
“Insect Infestations can wreak havoc in a grain heap if not properly handled; grain temperatures can rise unexpectedly resulting in a drastic loss in quality. Having the ability to drive grain temperatures down quickly and efficiently to an acceptable level with the use of a reliable system such as Barn Owl Wireless, significantly reduces the risk of quality loss,” says Mr Clayton-Bailey..
Barn Owl Wireless systems use wireless temperature sensors, installed in many different configurations to suit any shape and size of grain silo or flat floor store, to transmit temperature data to the user via the mobile phone network and a cloud-based server. Store managers can then log on to the Barn Owl Wireless web page on any internet-enabled device, check temperature and humidity readings for all their stores and manage the cooling fans according to the data shown on screen. Fans can be controlled automatically to cool or dry the grain without the need to travel unnecessarily to visit the store which, during the current nationwide lockdown, is key to helping farmers keep the essential work going.
Barn Owl Wireless cools efficiently, using only ambient air that is colder than the crop. This, combined with the precision of zonal cooling, enables the system to only cool the sections of the crop store that require it. The result is said to be significantly reduced energy costs over conventional cooling methods, with in most cases at least 40% less energy used. The crop temperature monitoring data received is stored, collated and displayed either graphically or in downloadable tables, which can act as supporting evidence of grain storage history when dealing with grain merchants and quality assurance assessors.
Martin Lishman managing director Gavin Lishman adds: “Barn Owl Wireless is top of its class for remote crop monitoring and control and a prime example of agri-tech being used to maximise the efficiency of food production and reduce waste. This statement has been at the forefront of our crop quality product development for 45 years. With new challenges facing agriculture every year, agri-tech solutions are a contributing factor in helping to overcome these challenges and maintain a higher quality standard throughout the industry.”
To find out more about Martin Lishman’s Barn Owl Wireless system, visit their website: www.martinlishman.com
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