5 December 1997

Mobile driers blow away wet harvest worries

Grain 97 – the event which provides an opportunity to see

all that is new in grain handling equipment – did its best to

conjure some enthusiasm from an audience still reeling

from falling grain prices. Andy Collings reports

IT WAS never going to be an easy exercise. Trying to persuade cereal growers to part with cash for new grain handling equipment was generally accepted by exhibitors at last weeks Grain 97 event as being something of an uphill struggle.

Nonetheless, for the grower who had taken the decision to update his kit, there was plenty to choose from, with most major manufacturers displaying their latest creations.

One sector which appeared to be riding the current situation remarkably well was the mobile grain drying brigade, with most companies reporting higher than expected sales last year and keen interest for the year to come.

It is a situation which, with hindsight, is understandable – a harvest which lingered on in many areas with vast volumes of wet corn stretching existing drying plants to the full. Mobile dryers tend to provide a convenient, yet relatively low-cost alternative system when compared with mammoth fixed equipment installations.

And, with modern units, mobile dryers do not lack the throughput or the automation of their barn-filling counterparts.

Seen for the first time at Grain 97 was Opicos new 600QF unit which boasts a throughput of 150t/day when reducing grain from 21% moisture to 16%. With motors powered by a three-phase supply and heat provided by propane gas, the 12t capacity machines operation is entirely automatic.

In simplistic form, the drying cycle comprises five stages. Grain is loaded and the burner fires up to heat the grain to a pre-set temperature. Once achieved, the burner stops, the grain is cooled and the drier is unloaded to await the next batch. A safety system is built into the chip-controlled operating system which shuts down the drier in the event of a malfunction.

Running costs for the 600QF are put at £1.50/t dried and its list price is £23,986. &#42

Opico 600QF – 150t/day throughput reducing grain from 21% moisture to 16%, with heat provided by propane gas.