Agriculture, Bulk Equipment, Bulk Industries

Reaping the benefits of grain dryers

Traditionally, grain dryers have been used to manage silos reactively. Agridry plans to change this.

Traditionally, grain dryers have been used to manage silos reactively. Agridry plans to change this.

When it comes to farming, the days of growing crops and hoping for the best are gone. To ensure a farmer gets the best return on investment for their grain, they need to control for dozens of variables.

The moisture level in grain is one variable that can significantly impact a crop’s quality. While there’s not much a farmer can do to prevent inclement weather, they can control moisture through drying systems.

Agridry’s general manager Rob Broughton told ABHR that most people only think about using dryers if it is raining during the harvest.

“If you start to think about dryers as part of a management program, they turn into a tool that lets you begin harvesting earlier,” he said.

“It gives you an insurance window, letting you get good quality grain that can be dried down to the right moisture level. If something does go wrong during the harvest, as it invariably does, you might have most of the process done already.

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“That means you can start and finish your harvest earlier, letting you reap the benefits of flexibility.”

Agridry is an Australian-made and owned business based in Toowoomba, Queensland. It designs and manufactures dryers for a range of applications and can manage operations, raw material processing, fabrication, assembly, and electrical design.

The company has a wide range of dryers that are specifically designed for Australian conditions. Agridry’s Predator Mobile Dryer has proven to be popular among Australian farmers. This is, in part, thanks to the grain dryer’s ability to be moved from field to field or property to property. Unlike other dryers, the Predator series can dry using only one section, even if there is less than a full load of grain. 

Agridry’s Kinetic series are cascading mixed flow dryers for higher capacity drying. These use a diesel burner system with its own three-phase power, air compressor, and fuel supply. It also features a high-capacity swing-out auger, air bag suspension for ease of transport and a second under-silo short auger.

Broughton said Agridry’s local perspective influences the end product significantly.

“From a manufacturing perspective, being local means our quality controls are much better. It also allows us to test our products in the same environments, which helps improve the overall design,” he said.

“Australia has a variety of environments too – drying grain in central Queensland is very different to Tasmania due to the different climates. Overseas dryers won’t be finely tuned for these different conditions.

“We have also built relationships with the agricultural industry and know when certain dryers will be needed. For example, the almond harvest might be gearing up in summer while winter crops will most likely want dryers from October through to January.”

All of Agridry’s products are individually calibrated for the client. The company makes sure to run the client’s material through the dryer to ensure they can handle it properly. Connecting closely with customers is an important part of the business.

Agridry has been trying to change the outlook on dryers from reactive to proactive when it comes to managing the harvest.

Broughton said word of mouth was also vital, as when peers see the benefits, they start thinking of installing dryers as well.

“A dryer’s benefit is not always immediately seen. If everything turns out fine, it is out of mind,” he said.

“We’re looking to provide additional education, attend seminars, and talk to people in key regions about their benefits.”

Agridry is also investing in research and development to find new ways of improving the dryers. 

It has also begun working with the CSIRO and several universities to find ways of using hydrogen as a heat source.

There are also several emerging markets with new opportunities for drying including food, recyclable and organic fertilisers. 

Every dryer Agridry supply comes with a 12-month warranty and is accessible for remote maintenance. This allows the company to diagnose any issues quickly and inform site staff about what the problem is. Its service teams also visit certain regions, connecting with local industry and ensuring everything is working as it should.

Stevie Morrison, executive director of Agridry said that she and the whole Agridry team are committed to reducing the losses that are inflected by harvest and providing our customers with the best possible outcome.    

Broughton said the future is looking bright for the company.

“We’re excited for the future of agriculture and the technology that is being introduced,” he said. 

“We have an amazing opportunity to be part of the broader picture. Keeping up to date with how quickly things are changing does keep us on our toes.” 

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