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I'm looking for input here on how you guys would set up a grain drying system if you had to do it basically from scratch. The system I am thinking is probably going to have to be in the 20,000 bushels per day if I were doing corn with one combine. Yeah I don't grow corn but I am starting to do some research just in case.:wink:

So currently I have a yard with 400 amp service that is two rows of 20-25,000 bushel bins that oppose eachother about 200' apart. One row is not completed so there is room on the end to put a dryer and hopper bins. This yard has 3-phase and natural gas 3/4 of a mile away. I have heard it may be 50K to bury gas in but not sure about power? My other yard is not close to either and it has a somewhat poorer layout, but it is where I live so handier...

I am told a dryer that can do 16,000 bushels a day takes a 300 amp breaker so my current 400 amp service will need an expensive upgrade by the time bin fans and a grain pump are going. If upgrading I probably should go straight to 3-phase or a gen-set? If gen-set what size is required to run a large dryer?

I would want to set something that does not require baby-sitting and will keep up to a large combine, maybe that is 30,000 per day but I am not sure I have the trucking to reach that level. Probably size this thing to exceed anything I may ever do in wheat or canola and do partial days in corn? Have to be careful about building something that looks way under-sized in 10 years...

So I'm wondering about:
>Dryer type/brand/size?
>Layout?
>Spend the extra to bury in gas?
>Power source/requirements?

Any and all pertinent comments appreciated. Could be 1000 acres of corn or more I guess if that matters.
 

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I'm looking for input here on how you guys would set up a grain drying system if you had to do it basically from scratch. The system I am thinking is probably going to have to be in the 20,000 bushels per day if I were doing corn with one combine. Yeah I don't grow corn but I am starting to do some research just in case.:wink:

So currently I have a yard with 400 amp service that is two rows of 20-25,000 bushel bins that oppose eachother about 200' apart. One row is not completed so there is room on the end to put a dryer and hopper bins. This yard has 3-phase and natural gas 3/4 of a mile away. I have heard it may be 50K to bury gas in but not sure about power? My other yard is not close to either and it has a somewhat poorer layout, but it is where I live so handier...

I am told a dryer that can do 16,000 bushels a day takes a 300 amp breaker so my current 400 amp service will need an expensive upgrade by the time bin fans and a grain pump are going. If upgrading I probably should go straight to 3-phase or a gen-set? If gen-set what size is required to run a large dryer?

I would want to set something that does not require baby-sitting and will keep up to a large combine, maybe that is 30,000 per day but I am not sure I have the trucking to reach that level. Probably size this thing to exceed anything I may ever do in wheat or canola and do partial days in corn? Have to be careful about building something that looks way under-sized in 10 years...

So I'm wondering about:
>Dryer type/brand/size?
>Layout?
>Spend the extra to bury in gas?
>Power source/requirements?

Any and all pertinent comments appreciated. Could be 1000 acres of corn or more I guess if that matters.
Your first question to yourself is do you want to dry as fast as you can combine as you stated, or do you want to dry slower after using storage as your buffer. If storage then moving grain logistics is more important then the dryer.

Automated completely (doesn't exist completely) or will someone be hired to watch the dryer full time while harvesting?
 

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I have looked at way smaller scale than you have and guess reason why not putting one in is inability to utilize current infrastructure and/or extra cost of building setup from scratch. It would seem like your existing stuff could be used, but think with size you looking at if you thinking you do not have trucking power you likely have to consider some sort of leg set up such that you do not need even more trkg capacity to move grain around yard. This and for other reasons you point out above means that believe you have to go 3phase. Also, would not think at scale you going at that could consider anything other than natural gas as note my mickey mouse bin heater that running on propane is not nearly efficient enough to consider that as viable fuel option. I look forward to seeing your pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Your first question to yourself is do you want to dry as fast as you can combine as you stated, or do you want to dry slower after using storage as your buffer. If storage then moving grain logistics is more important then the dryer.

Automated completely (doesn't exist completely) or will someone be hired to watch the dryer full time while harvesting?
Probably keep up for today which someday will become to small. That's usually how it works. So maybe 150 bu/acre corn becomes 250 bu/acre someday???

I want something automated, do not want to baby-sit!

My thoughts were two large hopper bins for wet bins and also two for dry bins, then pumped to large flat bottoms. I really am just guessing at this point, never had a dryer before.
 

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Any chance of moving the dryer setup to the nat gas and 3 phase or maybe buying a 3 phase generator for the dryer setup for you existing yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Any chance of moving the dryer setup to the nat gas and 3 phase or maybe buying a 3 phase generator for the dryer setup for you existing yard.
Yes. I own the land right by the power and gas. Could start from scratch(again) but then would need to haul all grain or move the 20,000 bushel bins to new foundations which could be done I guess. My thought was to use an air pump to fill all those existing bins if needed, maybe build a very large corn bin as well. I have probably 90 bushels/acre storage now though, probably don't need a whole lot more unless the corn acres really take off.

Probably by the time you level a site and plant trees and gravel it you would have been money well spent to drop 100K(guess) to get it to the existing yard.
 

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your at a different scale then me but the end result is the same. here is the setup I went with. had many farmers and truckers give me advice. leave space around dryer and wet bin for expansion of legs and stuff. I brought in a 600 amp single amp service for future growth. also started out with augers but left lots of room for legs and pits to be brought in later.

what size wet bin are you thinking? i would be thinking if a wet bin roughly the size of what your daily production. dryer can run at night while you sleep. we have a 3k bushel wet bin if we start out empty in the morning we can have it filled later that day. then it runs all night to be empty next morning. saved us a lot of money on dryer size. with the scale you are talking a big wet bin with dump pit for trucks and leg for wet bin, big leg out of dryer going to bins, can get over unders for going to bins legs cant reach.

what i learned from the neighbors that have been there done that is you are a lot better off just spending the money if you can to get setup and running organized way vs running augers or air across ways to get to bins. for the capacity you are talking trucks need to get in and out fast.

check out southern Mn. craigs list or grain dealers and huge used dryers are easy to find at a pretty reasonable cost.

the calcu dry system that came with my drier is a dream. later models will have there own version but love it. for the first day or two every time i came in to dump i did a moister test to compare whats coming out of dryer to moister tester to dial the dryer in. after them couple days now its always within a couple tenths. with plenty of safety in place its a leave it run all night system.

for filling from wet bin to dryer there is a paddle switch when it falls it tells wet bin to start filling the dryer, when grain hits the switch it tells the wet bin to stop. but there is also a timer and it it takes to long because the wet bin is empty it shuts down the hole dryer, if the paddle switch fails it will only run for the length of time and then shut down dryer.
on the unload there is a mercury switch, if the auger going from the dryer to bin stalls the auger out of the dryer will flip a lid with a switch to stop dryer.

talk to kieth at gmls industries for site layout and moving grain. he can talk to you about air systems and the power they need, bushels per hour, horse power and all that jazz.

for the acres you are talking i would either clear the spot around the bins you have or move them bins to be close together.


 

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I want something automated, do not want to baby-sit!
This and dryers doesn't exist yet. You can get automated system and monitor it from your smartphone but there is always something that needs small attention. For example my neighbours this year had to clean the corn fines off their screen dryers, some more often than others.

My thoughts were two large hopper bins for wet bins and also two for dry bins, then pumped to large flat bottoms. I really am just guessing at this point, never had a dryer before.
There is so many options with grain pumps, legs, or blower/vacs. In your example you could drop it hot into the two hoppers, use them to cool it and then transfer it to its final resting place. I know there is several guys on this forum that have lot of experience.

For the capacity your talking don't even think about doing it on propane, you want nat gas period. Your probably looking at 30g to hook up then the distance they have to trench it. I have heard (unverified) numbers to the tune of 50-60g per mile. They seem to have the attitude that if you want gas you need to pay for it. Once you have gas then you can look at a nat gas 3 phase 600v genset which from my math is actually very similar cost to getting power off the grid just have to eat the cost of the genset itself. That may change when you add Trudeau tax onto your nat gas bill. You won't get a big enough dryer if your limited to single phase. Your not that far from 3 phase either but its another big cost then you run into "demand" rates if your a high user.
 

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You really need to think about the grain handling setup you want and that will be the start. Such as:


Do you want the ability to blend grain from multiple bins on unload and transfer to an overhead or regular hopper bin for load out.
Do you want your truck to dump into a central pit, so it is a quicker unload and easy to send tough grain to dryer or dry grain to final storage.
Does dried grain from dryer need to move away automatically or get hauled.
Will set up be designed to dry and hit all bins in yard for storage from the dryer, or just a few.
What are monthly fees or 3 phase power? Generators are more expensive to run, but stand by costs are low?
Can you get a large enough gas line to run a nat gas generator and not need 3 phase power bill?
Would you use dryer or blending options for more of your crops if it was handier to use?
Are stir bins with supplemental heat a better option?


Electricity in Manitoba is probably real cheap, but in Alberta it is priced as a percentage of natural gas, so no difference if buying nat gas or electricity except that electricity has a lot of monthly distribution/transmission and administrative costs. So natural gas generator is a no brainer here if you have a large enough nat gas service.


Most grain leg and distribution systems are too small within 10-15 years of install. For ease of use I would think a stir bin with heat would be ideal. Can leave grain in bin when done. Not sure on long term maintenance or initial set up costs though. This way every time you replace your grain auger you upgrade your system. Stir bins should be more efficient on energy costs, not sure how they do with drying corn in colder weather.
 

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I never like it when we try to measure dry capacity in bu/day, or bu/hour…especially when talking about corn in northern climates.
There are just so many variables, (grain moisture, final target moisture, outside temperature and humidity.)
I would say in MB, corn typically gets harvested in a range between 16-26%. At eight minutes dry time per point of moisture removal, (10%x8min) it takes 80 minutes more time to dry the 26% corn vs. the 16%.
For this reason, it is difficult to try and compare dryer capacities from one brand to the other.
 

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Our municipality is part of group that is currently trying to get nat gas, so it has been the subject of discussion for the last couple months. If you can get it for $50,000 I would strongly recommend it. It sounds like you plan on drying a lot once you are set up…so your gas will pay itself off pretty quick I would think.
 

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I just got a quote to add some more capacity to our existing natural gas service in our yard. Two years Sask Energy wanted around forty grand. Now they want $90,000.:sFun_rofl::sFun_rofl:

They need to loop three miles of line to get more volume in it. The guy told me that construction costs have doubled in the last two years. I told him politely that I have an excavator but my rates haven't doubled.
 

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Yah in MB they used to let you trench your own line but they have put a stop to that. Have to use the "crown utility" companies now. I think they just make the rates up as they go.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I never like it when we try to measure dry capacity in bu/day, or bu/hour…especially when talking about corn in northern climates.
There are just so many variables, (grain moisture, final target moisture, outside temperature and humidity.)
I would say in MB, corn typically gets harvested in a range between 16-26%. At eight minutes dry time per point of moisture removal, (10%x8min) it takes 80 minutes more time to dry the 26% corn vs. the 16%.
For this reason, it is difficult to try and compare dryer capacities from one brand to the other.
The guy I talked to gave me the specs based on 5% moisture needing to be removed and cooled in the dry bin. I know it varies and there will be days when at 26% I will have to limit bushels harvested I guess.

I guess what I am looking for is guys in MB or close by that are growing about 1000 acres of corn and how they dry it. Having never grown or harvested corn I am just making an educated guess on capacity required.

Maybe that second combine is not so bad
Never have needed a dryer before and didn't need one this year with the one machine. Took all of this years grain off within a point of dry except for a bit of canola that was around 8% moisture.:wink:

I am not naive enough to think I won't need a dryer if I start growing corn though. Sun and wind can be hard to come by in late October.:frown:
 

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Probably keep up for today which someday will become to small. That's usually how it works. So maybe 150 bu/acre corn becomes 250 bu/acre someday???

I want something automated, do not want to baby-sit!

My thoughts were two large hopper bins for wet bins and also two for dry bins, then pumped to large flat bottoms. I really am just guessing at this point, never had a dryer before.
We have "fully automated". Someone is there. Once you see how plc's react to brownouts or just the right amount of wet crappy chaff on a limit switch, silly little part break, bin opening plug off.... you don't want to be far away for long.

This winter with frost on the lines was especially annoying.
 

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I'm yet to see someone with a fully automated dryer that has never had to vac grain off the ground around it! Only leave ours long enough to grab a cup of coffee. Always have someone in the yard at least to take a peak at it. Seems slow when it's working but really fast when one part of it quits!
 

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If you basing it strictly on corn its fairly easy math to figure out. 12row chopping head @ 4.5mph ave is 16.4ac/hr using 150bpa so right around 2500bus/hr and harvesting for 16hrs a day equals 40,000bus per day. So you want at least 1600-1700bus/hr dryer capacity removing 10 points, most guys start corn at 26-28% and end up around 22% by the end of the season so it may average 10 points removal.

However, its rare to find a dryer setup that has enough capacity to keep up with todays big combines. Most guys make an exception and build what they can afford that will get their corn off in a timely manner. Waiting for the wet bin to empty seems to be the most common phrase in corn harvest.
 
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