We have started working on grain drying and handling upgrades, with the dryer arriving in 10 days and the grain handling equipment arriving in about a month. It will be a very busy summer!
We had been considering increasing our corn drying and grain handling capacities for a couple of years, and evaluated various systems. By the time we were halfway through last year's wet corn harvest, the decision to move forward with a higher capacity, more efficient dryer was much easier.
We chose a tower dryer for its improved efficiency. It uses less horizontal space and it is high capacity. This dryer is rated at 1440 bushels per hour at a dry and cool rate of 10 points of moisture removal.
We should be able to keep one combine busy all day harvesting 25% or higher moisture corn, and two busy when corn is 20% moisture or less.
The rest of the story In order to make the best use of this new dryer, we needed to improve our grain handling, distribution capacity and abilities. We are installing a receiving leg and pit, a leg to fill the 76-ft. tall dryer, and a dry leg to distribute dried corn to the grain bins or the overhead load out hopper bin.
We always dry and deliver corn in September to capture a better basis and avoid the harvest rush, filling our own grain bins later in the harvest season. We should be set up to take even better advantage of this marketing plan.
It's a major financial decision to build for the future. I believe that new seed, equipment and information technology will allow us to harvest increasing yields.
We did a lot of research on applying for an energy grant, to help defray some of the cost. We started in June of 2009 to complete the energy audit and apply for the energy grant. These programs take time to complete; starting early and finding a good grant writer is important. We asked lots of questions, got lots of good advice from friends who built new drying facilities, and were successful in receiving the grant.