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New tech simplifies grain handling

Here is a peek at some technology making its way into the grain industry.

4 Min Read
MoistureLink grain dryer controller from Delux
CHARTS, GRAPHS AND MORE: The MoistureLink grain dryer controller from Delux can display current information in tabular or graphic form. Once relayed to the cloud, you can view it remotely. Tom J. Bechman

Your dad bought a grain dryer based on basics: price, reputation, reliability and capacity. It likely came with a bank of control switches, but nothing resembling a computer screen. If you are shopping for a dryer today, add a couple more parameters to your list: Can it control itself automatically? Can you see how it operates from your cellphone?

This isn’t a rundown of all technology breaking loose in the grain handling industry. Instead, it’s just a peek at a few products that indicate which direction the industry is headed. Plus, it includes a look at a couple of new twists on existing products.

Tech age

Nearly every company is upgrading and fine-tuning its systems to better control grain dryers. Here is how a couple of companies are embracing technology:

Delux MoistureLink Dryer Controller. This dryer controller integrates dryer monitoring and the precise moisture control you want into one product. The result is a durable, programmable logic controller from Delux. Multiple companies are either upgrading PLC technology or introducing it for the first time.

In this product, dryer operation controls and moisture controls are combined into one unit. Spokespersons note that it can automatically adjust metering rolls so the moisture of grain coming out of the dryer is right on target.

Related:These are not your dad’s grain dryers

Jesse Weaver with Delux says the company’s newest innovation is the web user interface, which allows access to important information during operation from anywhere. You not only can see information on how the dryer is performing, but also can make changes.

Maybe you want to change the plenum temperature or adjust target grain moisture. Do that and more from the combine seat, even if you are in the next county. You can even shut down the dryer. The only thing you can’t do remotely is start up the dryer, Weaver says. Visit deluxmfg.com.

Brock Intui-Dry Dryer Controller. Brock’s latest dryer controller is also a high-tech, color touch-screen, PLC-compatible unit that provides total control of drying and grain moisture during the drying process. Want to see the temperature and current unload rate, but in a way you can visualize rather than a data table? This product can display the information in graphs.

And like with the Delux system, you can access information remotely. You can see those graphs and all other pertinent data on your cellphone.

Intui-Dry and all other cloud-based systems require connection to the internet via ethernet at the bin site.

display for the Intui-Dry Dryer Controller from Brock

How smart is Intui-Dry? Here’s an example included at brockgrain.com, where you can learn more. Suppose dryer capacity is outpacing the system taking grain away from the dryer. Instead of overdrying grain, the controller automatically reduces plenum heat if the unloading rate limit is reached.

Related:Economics powers interest in mixed-flow dryers

New and noteworthy

Here are two new features related to grain storage from Sioux Steel:

Sioux Steel Mini-Sweep. Manufactured for farm bins from 15 to 48 feet in diameter, Sioux Steel’s new Mini-Sweep was designed with farm applications in mind. The compact sweep has a capacity of 2,200 bushels per hour, serving as an economical option for an on-farm grain storage setup. This sweep simplifies the task of clearing bin floors manually.

Sioux Steel mini-sweep for grain bins

While the Mini-Sweep does not come assembled, it can be incorporated into an existing setup. It connects directly to new or existing 8-inch or 10-inch round tubes or U-trough unloads.

Despite its smaller size, the Mini-Sweep features a shell design that enables it to easily work its way out of large masses of grain while also adjusting to uneven floor heights. Visit siouxsteel.com or call 800-577-4689.

Grain management from Sioux Steel. The Steps Grain Management System packages offered by Sioux Steel allow for grain monitoring from anywhere. Operators can use a free app on their phone or tablet to monitor temperature, humidity and other variables when away from the farm. With a quick tap on the screen, they can switch fans on or off from any location. Other additional sensors can factor in outside air information, allowing for a comprehensive view of what is happening with your grain.

Steps GMS control box for grain bin fans and aeration

This system comes in a variety of packages to fit any operation. The Bin Package 1 features a control box, OS/PL sensor and headspace sensor, and is compatible with a bin up to 30 feet in diameter. This package costs about $700, allowing for economical grain monitoring and control. Visit siouxsteel.com or call 800-577-4689.

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

Allison Lund

Indiana Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Allison Lund worked as a staff writer for Indiana Prairie Farmer before becoming editor in 2024. She graduated from Purdue University with a major in agricultural communications and a minor in crop science. She served as president of Purdue’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. In 2022, she received the American FFA Degree. 

Lund grew up on a cash grain farm in south-central Wisconsin, where the primary crops were corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Her family also raised chewing tobacco and Hereford cattle. She spent most of her time helping with the tobacco crop in the summer and raising Boer goats for FFA projects. She lives near Winamac, Ind.

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