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we want to buy a grain dryer for the 2020 season capable of 1500-1700bph wheat 20%-15% moisture.
Main crops are malt barley canola wheat soybeans
Currently were debating on whether to buy a NECO, SUKUP or a Western Grain dryer
Any feedback, thoughts opinions pros/cons on any of them would be greatly appreciated!!!!
 

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Neighbors here put up a Sukup mixed flow last summer, it's a nice looking machine with great capacity. Worked well all fall.
 

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That's a monster of a dryer. My preference is the screen style dryers. GSI stacked dryer would be how I would go at that capacity
 

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Stack dryers just increase capacity of screen dryers. Can be different heating and cooling zones, similar to cross flow designs.
 

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I have a Sukup mixed flow model 1617 with the vacuum cooling(similar to a tower dryer or Brock SQ series I believe). I think we were getting over 2000 bu/hr doing wheat about 5% without even turning the heat up very much. It's been a pretty reliable unit so far and with the vacuum cooling pretty efficient and zero downstream issues because it always dumps near ambient temperature because of the cooling. I really wanted that feature because I didn't want to buy a great big dryer and then have to turn part of it off just to dump cool.

One design flaw I see that mainly surfaces when drying in temperatures below -5C is that steam will get sucked into the fans on my top two plenums and freeze them up if the wind is in the wrong direction. If they were to draw air from lower, such as where the bottom fan sucks from, there would be zero issues. All the dust/bees wings and most of the steam is at the top. I think the Western Grain Dryer might draw from the bottom entirely??? I think Neco is similar to mine. I would also note that fines will get through into the center of the cooling section and it needs to be cleaned out a few times per year.

Despite those two issues I would buy the same dryer again. I have plans to keep bugging Sukup to make a retro-fit so these top plenums draw from down lower, or I will make one myself if I ever get time. If you want a screen dryer with that capacity I have a used GSI 2314 on single phase/propane that is for sale.
 

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If drying canola, why go with a screen dryer? I’d like to hear opinions. I’ve only ever owned a mixed flow.
 

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Not sure about mixed flow being more fire prone, that's a new one for me. And canola pods are nothing compared to the cob pieces one sees doing corn. I think fire risk has everything to do with how high you turn the burners up.

As for running in automatic all brands struggle with that. Bigger taller dryers with variable input moistures will make it worse. I just run manual and haven't had any trouble managing the final moisture, even with some big swings field to field. The moisture sensors require calibration and I don't think they work well at all in frozen grain, the top one is the real problem for that.

Here's some reading if you have time: Your Ideal Dryer Set-up?
 

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I've heard of mixed flow being more prone to fire as well but my buddy's farm fans went up in smoke this fall so I guess they can all burn.

Some guys have reported mixed flow dryers making a bigger mess than screen dryers, I can't comment on that personally though, our screen dryer seems to have it's fair share of mess around it. Haha.
 

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I think Sukup has heat recovery system? On propane $$$ that might really pay. Our NG bill seems so irrelevant I’m not sure I’d spend on that plus it seems we do a lot of winter drying as well and likely wouldn’t work with condensation freezing.
 

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I've heard of mixed flow being more prone to fire as well but my buddy's farm fans went up in smoke this fall so I guess they can all burn.

Some guys have reported mixed flow dryers making a bigger mess than screen dryers, I can't comment on that personally though, our screen dryer seems to have it's fair share of mess around it. Haha.
I think a mixed flow will be dirtier in the yard, especially with corn. Bonus is the sample is cleaner out the bottom since all the light stuff blows out.

On the fire thing blowing out a screen dryer and keeping the air moving is likely pretty important for efficiency and reducing the risk of hot spots and fire. I honestly don't know how one would plug my mixed flow, you'd have to be putting full cobs in there or something.
 

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I think Sukup has heat recovery system? On propane $$$ that might really pay. Our NG bill seems so irrelevant I’m not sure I’d spend on that plus it seems we do a lot of winter drying as well and likely wouldn’t work with condensation freezing.
Neighbors have it with heat recovery and were drying with temps down to -20 or colder this fall, never heard any complaints from them about it not working properly.
 
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