Monday, November 30, 2015

22 tons in the barn so far

ab-8b grain dryer
The grain dryer is pretty much the right size for the combine grain tank; when the combine is full it completely fills the dryer, and that makes things simpler.  While it's drying I'm out filling up the combine again.  The combine harvests faster than the dryer, though.    When people talk about grain they always talk about bushels, when I'm used to using tons.  for shelled corn, a bushel is 56lbs, but 56lbs of 30% moisture corn is not what 56lbs of 15% moisture corn is.  It shrinks as it dries.

This particular dryer is meant to run automatically; you'd have a "wet grain" bin on one end, with an auger into the dryer to load it.  On the other side you'd have an unload auger that would move the grain into the storage bin, and this unit can turn on or off all of the required equipment.

So right now it's go get a combine full of grain, come back and load the dryer and wait about 15 minutes.  The grain will settle and shrink as it dries, so for the first half-hour or so you keep feeding in grain, about another 300-400lbs until the dryer is topped-off full.

Once that's done it's off to the field again for more grain.  When I get back the dryer is done with the load, have the unload auger put it into the bucket of the tractor and add it to the 'dry' grain pile in one of the barns.  Fill the grain dryer, and repeat.

With a couple of bins, you'd just add the "wet" corn to the bin until it was full, and then this machine would just work all night to dry and transport the grain; in the morning you'd go out and fill the wet bin again, and repeat.

This particular dryer is about the same age as my combine; late 70s, early 80s.  It's even got a couple of vacuum tubes in it; I haven't seen a vacuum tube in maybe 15 years.

Automating the drying/storing process would make harvesting a one-man operation; this size dryer will dry 120 bushels of grain in a batch, which is 3.5 tons; with load, dry, cool, unload it takes about 2.5 hours per batch; roughly 10 batches in 24 hours.  So to have it work overnight the wet bin would have to be something like 600-800 bushels.


Susan from the Pacific Northwest said...

Does that corn release a lot of gas as it dries?

Bruce King said...

It shrinks as the water is removed from it. In the same way a dried apricot isn't as large as a fresh one. The difference isn't as dramatic as that, but when you've got 3 or 4 tons of it drying, you can have it settle 6 to 10". The dryer automatically loads a bit more grain when it does.

...and yes, I did fix the typo :)

Devon said...

Curious as to the variety of corn you are growing in western Washington? Always enjoy reading your posts.