19 November 1999

Pedestal driers are a low cost option

PEDESTAL driers are enjoying a surge of interest as growers seek a low cost alternative to replacing old systems.

"Traditionally they were used to complement existing drying equipment by cooling grain off the drier, but they are now being purchased specifically for drying," highlights Gavin Lishman, of manufacturer Martin Lishman.

"As driers have aged, farmers wanting to avoid the capital outlay required for an all singing, all dancing replacement are edging towards pedestals.

"During wet harvests pedestals can dry grain from as high as 28% to below 15% using ambient air, and the system can still cost less than £6/t," he says.

"For the first 15 years it was hard to get the message across. But as more people have taken the system, used it and found it works, they have become salesmen for it, told their neighbours and clusters of localised purchases have started to emerge."

The system consists of free-standing vertical ducts, or pedestals, evenly positioned throughout the store. A fan is placed on the top of the pedestal, drawing air through the grain, up the pedestal and out of the fan. Air needs to be drier or cooler than the grain for the system to work. The system suits all store sizes and grain depths from 2-10m (6-30ft).

"The management of the system relies on a basic understanding that if air is wetter than grain it wont dry, but if it is drier it will. The same is true of temperature," says Dr Lishman.

"We have reports of farmers who have been able to reduce temperature by 20C in just 36hrs, and moisture by 2%/week."

Pedestal fans

For 500t flat store:

Six P2 pedestals at £115 £690

One fan for six pedestals £395

Total cost £1085

Total capital outlay £2.17/t

NB: economy range also available.