John McArthur, managing director of the specialist engineering firm McArthur Agriculture, is reminding arable farmers that grain cooling measures cannot come second to grain drying this year.
With UK temperatures knocking on 40°C in the last few days, Mr McArthur is suggesting that farmers consider having to re-introduce moisture to crops or contend with runaway overheating in stores. Particularly as extreme weather conditions are set to become the norm.
This week alone, extreme temperatures halted much combine work. Additionally, when below a moisture level of 6%, oilseed rape is too dry, it cannot be crushed and so has to stay in the field, while barley is overheating in storage which is causing heap temperatures to increase quickly.
Below are Mr McArthur’s grain cooling tips:
- AHDB’s safe storage time calculator
The safe storage time calculator from AHDB will tell you how many days a crop may be stored for, at a given moisture and temperature, while remaining free from risks such as mould, germination, insects and mites.
2. Low volume ventilation equipment
Mr McArthur suggests a combination of equipment to help you control grain temperatures. ‘Low volume ventilation equipment such as BDC Systems air stacks, air spears and corraducts, in combination with low volume fans, can be an effective measure’. Also, fresh air moving through grain in storage will keep temperatures under control.
3. Use a grain dryer for cooling
West Yorkshire farmer, Andrew Nicol, recently saved his barley which had risen to nearly 35°C in the grain store overnight, by mixing and cleaning grain in his Mecmar mobile drier while blowing ambient air through it. In doing this, Mr Nicol was able to reduce the barley temperature to a controllable level.
4. The FrigorTec grain cooler
A specific piece of cooling equipment, such as the FrigorTec grain cooler, is a dependable solution to grain cooling. The FrigorTec cooler uses a refrigeration system to deliver cool, dry air, at around 10°C, to grain stores – regardless of outside temperatures. Cooling capacities range from 30 to 1,200 tonnes per day and require an existing air distribution system.
The FrigorTec grain cooler is available from McArthur Agriculture: https://www.mcarthuragriculture.co.uk/.