Harvest is here again and it’s time to move grain from truck to bin, bin to bin, or bin to truck — all of which have the potential to damage seed or kick up unhealthy dust. But today those problems can be mitigated or eliminated by using a grain vac, an alternative to a conventional auger loading system on the farm.

A grain vac uses air to draw the grain into it and move it through, so it tends to be gentler on the grain. Grain vacs “maintain seed integrity and minimize the seed damage,” says Marvin Schmidt, the product specialist for Farm King grain vacs. This system is ideal for farmers and commercial operators who move delicate or high-value seed.

Grain vacs convey grain faster than conventional augers, says Jody Duclos from Rem Enterprises. Quicker loading and unloading of grain saves time, which also saves money and reduces the demand for labor to do the job.

Although grain vacs are initially more expensive than augers, they offer some health and safety benefits. First, grain vacs do not kick up as much unhealthy grain dust as sweeping and shoveling usually do. They use air to draw in the grain, which causes fresh air to be pulled in from the outside. Virtually all the dust problems that occur from sweeping grain are eliminated.

Second, grain vacs can replace the use of an open sweep auger. An OSHA regulation does not allow the use of open sweeps in bins because of the potential danger to operators.

And third, use of a grain vac eliminates the potential of auger entanglement or the possible connection of an auger with an overhead power line.

Grain vacs are very versatile and portable. They convey a wide variety of grains, including corn, soybeans, cereals and grass seeds. A farmer may use a grain vac whenever he needs it and in diverse unloading and loading situations. This makes it helpful for farmers who have several grain-holding facility sites.

For farmers renting farms with older storage who do not wish to invest in new grain storage and removal equipment, grain vacs are a practical investment, says Ned Birkey from Michigan State University Extension.

Grain vacs can be purchased in different styles and sizes with varying capacities and capabilities. Here are a few models to help you start your search.

Brandt 7500H

Brandt Agricultural Products recommends its 7500 HP as its best option for farmers because it has an unloading capacity of 8,000 bu./hr. in corn or wheat out of a full bin. The 7500 HP requires only 120 hp to operate at full capacity and has an 8-in. line size. Brandt also has a patented cone separator that separates the grain and air in a 9-in. window, directing the grain into and air away from the inlet of the fan. The grain vac’s design uses fewer moving parts, which lowers maintenance and extends life. Retail price is $28,000. Contact Brandt at 866/427-2638 or http://agricultural-products.brandt.ca.

FARM KING 6640

Farm King, a Buhler Industries brand, says its 6640 model is able to run both small and large quantities of grain through, using minimum horsepower while providing maximum efficiency. Depending on the type of grain being transferred, the grain vac has a capacity rate of 2,800 to 4,000 bu./hr. The 6640 has a 110-hp requirement and uses 6-in. suction and pressure line in full bin situations and 5-in. suction line in cleanup situations. Farm King grain vacs have a 24-month parts and labor warranty. Including the base unit and basic hose kit, the Farm King 6640 retails for $24,000. Contact Buhler Industries at 888/524-1004 or www.farm-king.com.

HANDLAIR 680

Christianson Systems manufactures the Handlair brand, which offers the model 680 equipped with abrasion-resistant steel in the cyclones and the main contact points. It has a 150-hp requirement and uses 5- to 6-in. suction lines. The 680 has a capacity ranging from 3,500 to 4,500 bu./hr. It is designed with an offset frame for plenty of truck clearance when using tractors with long axles or duals. The grain vac is also available in PTO, diesel or electric power. Price of the model 680 starts at $29,700. Contact Christianson Systems at 320/995-6141 or www.christianson.com/Handlair.html.
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REM GRAINVAC 3700

REM Enterprises says that its GrainVac 3700 is the fastest model it produces. With an automatic air throttle for maximizing the horsepower-per-capacity ratio, the GrainVac 3700 has a high-capacity rate of 10,000 bu./hr. at 8 ft. of suction and 4,000 to 5,000 bu./hr. at 50 ft. of suction. It has a 130- to 180-hp requirement and comes with highway rated axles. Rem claims that its grain vacs carry the highest resale values of any other grain vacs on the market today because of their quality and customer service and support. The GrainVac 3700 retails for $36,750. Contact Rem at 800/667-7420 or www.rem
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