Defining best management practices for using supplemental heating with natural air drying
Term: 2 years, beginning in 2018
Funding Amount: $ 66,810
Lead Researcher(s): Joy Agnew, Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI)
Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission (SCDC)
This project builds on PAMI’s previous research on grain storage and natural air drying (NAD), in which PAMI has evaluated the effect of airflow rate and fan control systems on drying rate without heat addition and this research focuses on validating factors and building information for using supplemental heating with NAD, to help producers better utilize supplemental heat and minimize the risk of spoilage during storage.
Drying grain on-farm is a common practice in Saskatchewan to minimize the risk of spoilage during storage. Many producers use NAD systems to minimize the capital and operating costs of grain drying. In some years, NAD is not effective due to high relative humidity and low temperatures of the ambient air. Dedicated drying systems (batch and continuous dryers) were filled to capacity and producers were considering the use of supplemental heating for assisted natural air drying. However, very little best management practices were available to help producers make management and operational decisions related to using supplemental heating. Supplemental heating systems allow producers to utilize existing NAD systems by adding heat to the air with a heater fueled by oil, natural gas, diesel, or propane.
Thus, the objectives are to scientifically determine how the use of supplemental heat affects the drying rate and storage conditions of wheat and canola; to determine the economic benefits of using supplemental heating with natural airdrying (NAD) systems; and to compile and disseminate best management practices for use of supplemental heat with NAD.
This project will generate information that will help producers minimize losses during storage, particularly when weather conditions are not conducive to in-grain drying.