THE SALE of grain bins and all related grain-handling equipment soared during the winter and spring of 2007. “Unbelievable” is the word used by grain equipment and bin companies to describe their business. All winter, crop experts predicted a large corn planting because of high corn prices. Growers who planned to plant more corn put in orders for new grain equipment to handle the extra grain volume at harvest.

The grain-handling companies had time to prepare for the increased sales. Bin companies purchased steel early and in generous supply. They were still taking orders at planting to build bins in the summer. Other grain-handling businesses put employees on overtime to keep up with demand. As a result, grain-handling equipment is still available to growers who need to increase their on-farm storage.

DRYER SHOPPING

ANTICIPATION OF the largest U.S. corn crop in history has growers considering new grain-handling equipment. Longtime Team FIN member Daryl Bridenbaugh was ahead of the game last year when he went on a quest for a new grain dryer to update his existing equipment.

Bridenbaugh's goal was to find a small dryer that holds about 300 bu. and uses only one fan. The Pandora, OH, grower attended several farm shows and visited with dryer companies about the options. He compared the features and costs of several brands. Here's his account of the different dryers that he considered.

M-C Infinity CF 420

The Mathews Company Infinity CF 420 dryer features standard automatic moisture control that automatically speeds or slows the discharge rolls to expel the grain at the desired moisture. A printer continuously records the outgoing moisture. A remotely located control cabinet is an option.

The grain column is 16 in. thick on the upper slope of the dryer and then tapers to 12 in. thick on the downward vertical and at the bottom of the columns. The logic is that the grain at the top of the dryer is not compacted so the column needs to be thicker to equalize airflow and drying.

List price of the dryer is $47,200 with galvanized screens or $48,390 with aluminum screens. Contact Mathews Co., Dept. FIN, Box 70, Crystal Lake, IL 60039, 800/323-7045, visit www.mathewscompany.com or www.free productinfo.net/fin, or circle 102.

Brock SQ series

The Brock SQ series dryers offer centrifugal fans on all models for noise control. New this year is a conveyor-style unloading drag that replaces the unloading auger. The grain columns on the downward slope are 8 in. thick at the top and 10 in. thick at the bottom; the downward vertical column and the rest of the dryer are 12 in. thick. The company uses this design to knock out large amounts of moisture at the top of the dryer.

The standard computerized Spectrum controls are all new this year. Also recently updated are the optional Quantum controls, which automatically control the speed of the rolls and the drying temperature to equalize final moisture. Both controls may be remotely located. All Brock dryers use a patented, stationary baffle inside the grain columns to speed the flow of the hotter grain on the inside of the column and slow the flow of the cooler grain on the outside of the column.

List price for the SQ12D is $43,150. Contact Brock Grain Conditioning Group, Dept. FIN, 1750 W. State Rd. 28, Frankfort, IN 46041, 800/541-7900, visit www.graindryers.com or www.free productinfo.net/fin, or circle 103.

GSI 112, Farm Fans 270

The GSI 112 and the Farm Fans 270 dryers are nearly identical twins because they are built on the same assembly line. GSI purchased Farm Fans in 2000. Besides the colors — Farm Fans dryers are orange and GSI models are yellow — the main difference is that Farm Fans dryers have extra-large 7-in.-dia. rolls, whereas the GSI dryer has the traditional 4½-in.-dia. rolls. The larger rolls on the Farm Fans dryers more easily handle harvest debris, such as pieces of tree limbs and nuts that fall into a combine grain hopper.

On both dryers, the grain column is 14 in. wide top to bottom. No attempt is made to speed or slow the flow of grain. The company states that grain is mixed as it is augered out of the dryer so moisture differences are equalized.

The standard computerized controls have eliminated 99% of the moving parts that were in previous control systems. Moisture control is an option; it adjusts roll speed automatically to control discharge moisture. The painted surfaces are powder coated, and a wet holding bin is standard. Heat recycling shields on the lower part of the dryers are optional. These shields direct the hot air from the outside of the dryer back into the drying chamber.

List prices of the GSI 112 are $40,800 for the galvanized steel model and $43,291 for the stainless steel dryer. The Farm Fans 270 galvanized steel model lists for $41,600, and the stainless steel dryer is $44,091. Contact GSI and Farm Fans, Dept. FIN, 1004 E. Illinois St., Assumption, IL 62510, visit www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 104. Call GSI at 217-226-4421 or visit www.grainsystems.com. Or call Farm Fans at 217/226-5400 or visit www.fficorp.com.

Delux DP 3015

Delux advertises its DP 3015 dryers as being 30 to 50% more efficient than traditional dryers. Why? Because the fan is mounted inside the dryer and uses heat from the dried grain in the lower third of the drying column to add heat to the upper part of the chamber. The grain column is 14 in. thick at the top, and the remainder is 12 in. thick.

The dryer is very quiet because grain columns that muffle the noise surround the fan. An all-heat economy series of dryers is available. A large, partially perforated garner bin is standard on all models.

List price is $54,363. Contact Delux Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, 4650 Airport Rd., Kearney, NE 68848, 800/658-3240, visit www.deluxmfg.com or www.freeproduct info.net/fin, or circle 105.

Sukup T-12

The Sukup dryer's claim to fame is its quad meter rolls, which are standard on all Sukup dryers regardless of size. The meter rolls pull grain down faster on the inner part of the column and slower on the outer part of the column to produce an even moisture content in the discharged grain. The grain column is 14 in. thick top to bottom.

The standard controls on the Sukup T-12 feature a key pad with a liquid crystal display that gives a constant readout on performance and indicates if there is a problem with the dryer. A printer and an automatic moisture control are standard. As an option, the control box may be remotely located.

Shown at left is the Sukup T-16, a 16-ft. dryer. List price of the T-12, which is a 12-ft. dryer, is $46,763 with galvanized screens and $49,052 with stainless steel screens. Contact Sukup Mfg. Co., Dept. FIN, 1555 255th St., Sheffield, IA 50475, 641/892-4222, visit www.sukup.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 106.