Olds College research shows in-bin grain drying could be economically viable

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Olds College has been working on a multi-year project on in-bin drying, which was on display at AgSmart at Olds, Alta.

The technology, developed by Top Grade Ag, at Calgary, Alta., uses a proprietary algorithm with pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors to optimize the grain drying process.

Daniel Stefner of Olds College says the system works with a small sensor in the plenum of the bin, and one in the attic.

“It’s basically measuring the delta — or the difference between — humidity and temperature, and pressure between the two, to come up with a moisture removal estimation,” he explains. “So what we’ve been doing at Olds College is calibrating and validating those readings to see how accurate those moisture removal estimates are.”

Despite the drought that plagued a good portion of the Prairies through 2021, the college was able to test the system using a wet bin of canola, as well as six dry bins that needed to be cooled down.

“Through those events, we found that all of their estimations were within 0.16 per cent of the actual moisture content once they were dried down,” says Stefner.

The research team also did energy consumption calculations to validate and compare the green drying metrics of doing in-bin drying, versus a common grain dryer.

“For one event we had last year, we took 11.6 per cent moisture content canola, and dried it down to 8.3 per cent. So that was about three days of supplemental heat added. And then two days of cool down. It was under two cents per point per bushel for dry down. So we were very, very pleased with that,” he explains.

Learn more about the research in the full video below, recorded at AgSmart at Olds, Alta:

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture