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New fuel-efficient grain dryers save money

GSI tower dryer
EMPHASIZE EFICIENCY: Research funded through the Propane Research and Education Council has helped three ag companies strive to improve grain drying efficiency and reduce drying costs.
Hi-Tech Farming: Propane groups partner with commercial companies to improve dryer efficiency.

New grain dryers with significant energy-saving features are here. If this is your year to upgrade dryers, check out models that claim significantly better operating efficiency than most previous models.

Increased efficiency is no accident. The Propane Education and Research Council partnered with three different ag companies to develop new fuel-efficient grain-drying technologies. Each one uses a different technology.

GSI recently introduced a heat reclamation system that could be a dramatic step up in reducing fuel costs. PERC helped fund development of the system. It can be retrofitted to Zimmerman-style dryers built since 2001.

Meanwhile, PERC also worked with Mathews Co., resulting in a redesigned Legacy series of grain dryers that feature greater fuel efficiency.

Sukup Manufacturing Co. partnered with PERC to redesign its grain dryer burner. The new Octagon Burner uses less propane to achieve the temperature rise needed to dry grain. The new design also lowers carbon dioxide emissions. It’s used on all new 2017 axial-fan dryers and can be installed as a replacement burner on older dryers.

South American breakthrough
Agricomseeds claims it has developed the first natural, non-GMO trait in corn specifically designed for yield increases. The company has subsidiaries in Brazil and Bolivia. The new trait, called LeadGrain, is a multiple-gene trait designed to aggregate more than double the number of ovules on the cob. Ears have more rows of kernels than typical ears today.

One use for this new trait may be planting it at lower populations, not higher. Representatives say at 24,000 plants per acre, hybrids with this new trait withstand heat stress much better. An experienced plant breeder in the U.S. notes that increasing row number in North America has been a challenge. Multiple genes are involved in determining row number.

New seed treatments
Nufarm Americas Inc. introduces three new seed treatments in the existing Spirato brand lineup, plus two new products — Sativa IMF Sembolite MAX and Salient 372FS. The Spirato line consists of products with various blends of different fungicide active ingredients.

Some blends are aimed more at controlling seedling diseases such as rhizoctonia, fusarium, pythium and phytophthora root rot. Others provide systemic protection against rhizoctonia and fusarium. Certain products are geared toward cereals, while others are designed for disease protection in corn. These diseases can also be an issue in soybeans. Learn more about new products in the line at

Value-priced ATV
Arctic Cat comes in $1 under $6,000 with its newest 4-by-4, the VLX 700. The company says this model is designed to be tough on dirt but easy on the wallet. It uses the Arctic Cat H1 engine and Duramatic automatic transmission to deliver pulling power on dirt. It features a liquid-cooled 695-cc engine.

Ag barometer tool
Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and the CME Group have developed a survey instrument called the Ag Economy Barometer. The center’s Jim Mintert says it’s a tool that allows them to survey farmers across the country about their sentiments toward the current and future business environment in agriculture.

The barometer tracks both impressions of current conditions and future expectations. The current sentiment barometer fell to 92 in October, where 100 is the base value, but has rallied every month since, reaching 118 in January. The graph for future expectations rose sharply from December to January. Check out the Ag Economy Barometer online.

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