Automated dryer control using sensors to monitor incoming and out-going grain moisture has proved its worth this harvest as hard-pressed growers have contended with catchy weather and the need to dry much of their cereal and oilseed crops.
Barry Higginbottom of dryer maker Kentra Grain Systems says users of the new Dryer Master DM510 control system have praised the proven Canadian technology for its help in a busy season.
“It can save valuable time otherwise spent monitoring and managing a dryer manually and can bring about significant savings in terms of energy use and unnecessary weight loss resulting from over-drying,” he points out.
The Dryer Master system, which will be featured on Kentra’s stand at the CropTec Show in Peterborough at the end of November, comprises two highly accurate moisture sensors – one usually fitted at the top of a continuous flow dryer to measure the moisture content of incoming grain and another in the conveyor line taking grain from the dryer.
Control software uses the readings from these temperature-compensating sensors to calculate the ‘residence time’ – how long the grain needs to spend within the dryer to reach an average target moisture level – and to adjust the discharge rate accordingly.
“The ability to predict when, say, wetter incoming grain will fill the dryer takes all the guesswork out of managing the system and results in more accurate and consistent drying,” says Barry Higginbottom.
“With manual monitoring and control, you’re always working behind the curve, altering settings after the event but with intake moisture sensing and predictive software, grain drying becomes more accurate and consistent.”
Dryer Master should not be used as a ‘set and forget’ management aid, he advocates, but it will give whoever is running the store more time to carry out other harvest management duties while avoiding the tendency to err on the side of caution when controlling a system manually.
“Over-drying to ensure grain meets specification is a significant cost factor because of the energy consumed – bearing in mind it takes more energy to move grain from 14% to 13% mc than from 15-14% – and also in weight loss.
“At £100/tonne, avoiding just 1% over-drying will regain £20,000 in lost revenue on a 20,000 tonne harvest,” Barry Higginbottom points out. “A farm drying 4-5000 tonnes of grain a year would recoup the £6,000-£7,000 all-in purchase of a Dryer Master DM510e in less than three years while also saving time and hassle.”
The Dryer Master option can be incorporated into all new Kentra dryers and can be installed on most continuous flow dryers already in service, with a duplicate display available on an office computer or mobile device via the Internet.
Join Kentra Grain Service this November in Peterborough at The CropTec Show.