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Hi, just wondering if anyone has used the grain guard propane/ng heaters that mount between fan and bin? do they work good? are there any issues with trying to dry canola/ flax down a few points with them? what size of bin works best? hopper or flat bottom? any advice would be appreciated as I have no experience with them and would like to try using one. I'm thinking of getting the 24" inline centrifugal 100,000btu model. thanks
 

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We use em But we don't like to use em. Been a long time since we used them in canola but they will get you out of a bind at times. We have them on 5000 bu bins takes time though and should flip the grain after because the top might be tough
 

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with the cold weather here I would really warn you about moisture condensing on the roof , the walls and on the grain itself on the top of the pile . When it is warm outside you don't have to worry about condensation as much . Keep a close eye on the grain in the bin and don't try to dry a big pile in the bin as it will take a long time and you could get spoilage before it gets dry . Would shoot for a half a bin to start and this all depends on how much moisture you are pulling out . I wouldn't even think of anything over 16% on our drier bin I won't think of anything over 18% as it will take forever and go through tons of propane .
 

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We used 125,000 btu disiel heaters mounted about 8 inches from the fan inlet. They work as long as you fill the 18x5 bin 1/2 to 2/3 full and turn the entire bin within 5-7 days.
 

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I have 20000 with ng heaters, agree with everything said especially about condensation. very inefficient and expensive to run.Buy a dryer
 

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we have one set up on a 4000 median ,5hp with the heater ,worked "ok" in canola when the weather was warm but we tried it late in the fall, the first 600 bushels came out dry 6% then the rest was a mixture of 8% and chunks of moldy stuff from the walls ..about a foot on the walls was crap and wrecked the rest of the bin ,,expenisive lesson ,ALL Canola thur the dryer from then on,,, maybe in warm areas might work But??? Up here no chances when we have a dryer sitting ....
 

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You guys are sure tough on those grain guard heaters. No, they will not do the job of a grain dryer but they do have a fit to help with more moderate moisture levels. We have used 60,000 BTU and a 200,000 BTU units successfully over the years. Three years ago we brought in Natural Gas and are firing them up today for the first time on that. 12-13% straight combined canola.


John
 

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thanks for the reply's/ advice! all good information. I think I will look into other options
You would be better off to buy an old round gt batch drier on propane and use that they work pretty good and your grain is in condition that you can store forever when your done. They go at sales around here for a couple thousand dollars usually.
Or invest lots of money in a big drier set up. I’d rather have a drier than airiation fans any day.

The extra labor of turning grain and the stress of wondering if the outside edges are heated from condensation negates any effort it takes to dry it properly.
 

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Reading this thread brings back good and bad memories from the last 50? years of trying to get the crop off and grain dry enough to keep and sell without spoiling and all kinds of nightmarish outcomes. Some where in the middle is a point where you just have to use a dryer. Blowing heated air into a bin of wet grain only works if you have enough air flow and can get the evaporated water to exit the bin without condensing on the roof or walls and just creating more problems. Think about how much water you have in that bin of grain. 3000 bu of 18%wheat x 65 lbs/bu = 200,000 lbs x 4-5% water = 10,000 lbs = 1000 gallons of water that has to be evaporated and successfully driven out of the bin. A couple of key points is to not have grain deeper than maybe 10-15' and less for canola. Full centrifugal fans produce more pressure which will blow more cfm through the grain. You will have to move the grain to be sure you do not have wet spots if it is starting at more than a couple % ??? tough and cold outside. It will work if you put in the management to keep the grain from getting wet spots and spoiling but you have to stay on top of things. If you have 3,000 bu of 17-18% grain in a 19' bin keep pulling out 1,000 bu every 5-7 days to see how it is drying or not and if the drying front has moved up far enough to allow the grain to keep. The grain at the top of the pile may be wetter than when you put it in. When we are losing our ambient temperature you will have to add heat or little or no drying will happen in the bin. It is all about relative humidity and the same reason grain will not dry in the field is why it will not dry in the bin. If you raise the air temp by 10 degrees F you drop the RH by 50% or something like that so you can see that a little heat makes a big difference when it is cold and damp outside. Dry air is better than a "blowtorch in a pipe" because of the humidity from combustion of propane or gas. If you can capture the heat from running a genset and blowing that into grain it helps the overall efficiency a lot. Adding some heat and being able to dry down 1/2-3/4 of a bin of grain in a week sure beats blowing on it for a month and just wasting your electricity. Speaking of electricity, even having a cover over your fan to suck in the 6,000 watts of heat from the 5 hp ?motor running makes a big difference on drying. It is all about the heat and RH of the air and we just don't have enough heat this time of year to get the grain dry. In the field or in the bin.

On the original subject of Grain Guard heaters I only have one 3, 6, or 9,000 watt electric heater with a 5 hp fan on a rocket in a 8600 bu hopper and have found that unless the bin is about 1/2 full or less it just takes too long to make much difference on drying.
 

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We have had about 6 or 7 of those stupid blue grain guard heaters. They only work for about two years and then they quit. Terrible service, good luck with finding anybody to help you trouble shoot them.
 

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We have had about 6 or 7 of those stupid blue grain guard heaters. They only work for about two years and then they quit. Terrible service, good luck with finding anybody to help you trouble shoot them.
That's the ones! Is it elements or switches that are causing them to quit working? If the element shows continuity then it is probably rusted corroded contacts in switches or push on spade connectors leading up to switches. It is a pretty simple circuit if you are inclined to want to try to figure out the problem. That is a poor design for something that has to sit outside and survive that much heat for part of the time and then the resulting corrosion. Too light built. Too cheap!! Where have we heard that before!!??
 

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It bugs me reading about people trying to do this to dry grain. Go buy a dryer and do it right. You can go get a used dryer and all the augers etc. for only a little bit more than it would cost to get these bin heaters and fans and everything else you need, and a dryer will do what it's supposed to, not like these fans that at best do a half a$$ed job. I can't understand why someone would risk losing their income because they want to "cheap out" and just use a bin heater. You will never lose money on a grain dryer. Our old Tox-o-wik dryer is probably the most valuable piece of equipment on our farm, even more so than our high clearance sprayer or combine. I can't figure people out when they spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment to make them more efficient at seeding or harvest, but then park their 500,000 dollar combine for 2 or 3 weeks because it's to tough to combine and they don't have a dryer. It's usually people that say they are a one man show and don't have time to dry their grain, but are willing to turn bins umpteen times and check the bins constantly for heating. That's exactly the person who should have a dryer, it will gain you a few extra hours a day of combining as you can start a couple hours sooner. Areation is over rated I think, people expect too much from it. It should only be expected to preserve or cool grain, especially this time of year. And they are not cheap to operate either.


The key to a grain dryer is to have it set up permanently and keep it maintained, and expect to use it every year. We have our dryer ready to go at a moments notice, 365 days a year, can have it set up and going in 10 minutes. I think what turns people off about dryers is that they sit in the long grass by the bush and are left with rotten grain in them from years ago, so getting them set up and going is a nightmare. If you ever got a dryer, you would never even consider doing it any other way, and wonder how you survived without one. Just for an example, we got going yesterday in canola, first test was just under 14. eventually got down to 11.3. Nobody else combined around us and we took off close to 100 acres, had people calling to see what it was testing, but none of them went because they don't have a dryer or don't have it set up. Got a couple more tandem loads off today, not much but another 10 grand in my pocket that's not sitting out there in the field with the potential of being lost to the elements.
 

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I was thinking that if you sprayfoamed the walls and roof you could have a good dryer for small batches . The other thing would be to have a fair few roof vents and a large ventilating fan in the center opening that would take out more air than was being blown in ( like ones that princess auto sell ) . I know on our drying bin there is a wall perforation panels that are available for drying corn when it is cold out . Guess if there was warm air going up the walls you wouldn't get condensation on them .
 
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