What is in this article?:
The Bullseye controller from AgriDry was put to the test on Team FIN member Paul Gervais' Minnesota farm. Gervais reports on how the Bullseye controlled the moisture of his grain bins year by year.
During the 2008 harvest, I was faced with corn moisture that ranged from 17 to 26%. I started harvesting my drier corn, which was under 19% moisture, and putting it directly into the bins using aeration fans only to reduce the moisture to levels safe for long-term storage. In the past, this meant turning on the fans and leaving them run, except when it was raining. I then pulled samples to monitor the moisture levels, so that I could decide when to stop the aeration phase. I have had acceptable results in the past, but not without challenges, including over-drying the bottoms and under-drying the tops of the bins. I have a five-cable monitoring system to check grain temperature to head off quality issues before they are a problem, but hot spots are always a concern, especially in the later summer months.
By using the Bullseye controller under these conditions, I was able to program the fan to run only when temperature and humidity conditions would remove moisture from the grain. This not only cut down my electric costs, but also gave me more uniform moisture throughout the grain column in the bin.
Because of the extremely slow dry-down time of certain varieties of corn, I decided to use my continuous-flow dryer to handle about 10,000 bu. of 25% moisture corn, which I put in my remaining 42-ft. bin. With the remaining 18,000 bu. of my corn in the 20 to 22% moisture range, I finished filling that bin, using the Bullseye’s capabilities to handle wetter grain by adding a small amount of heat when needed to reduce the relative humidity to increase the fan running time.
After the daily temperatures dropped to a 25° to 30° range, I set my controllers to storage mode. The moisture samples that I took in December from the bin that just used air was in the 14.5 to 15% range, and the air with low heat was in the 17.5 to 18% range.
Troyer from AgriDry contacted me about a service that I could add to my system to enhance the unit’s monitoring capabilities. It incorporates a satellite modem attached to the Bullseye to remotely monitor the grain temperature. Every night around midnight, a satellite receives a transmission from my facility that is downloaded to a server at AgriDry. Using that information, they e-mailed or texted me a daily report that included time, grain temperature, outside air temperature, and fan run time. In addition, the staff was available to answer any questions that I had. I found that AgriDry’s policy is to service their products after a sale.
In January 2009, I started to market my 2008 crop. Corn from the air-dried bin ranged from 14.5 to 15%, and the 22% corn had dried to around 17.5% moisture. I decided to use warmer spring air temperatures to finish the dry-down process. During the final dry-down process, I accidently turned off the fans. Because of the daily e-mail, I noticed that a sensor showed a temperature spike at the top of one of my bins. After inspecting the bin, I confirmed that the corn had started to go out of condition. If not for the Bullseye, it would have only taken a few days for my oversight to become very costly.
After analyzing my elevator scale tickets, I found that the corn from bins with the controllers was closer to the target moisture of 15% than corn from my bins without the controllers.