'harvest' Articles

Harvest 2019: An unconventional way to dry your grain in wet conditions

Image of portable heaters and Frost Fighters in front of Twister grain bins

The 2019 harvest is shaping up to be frustrating for most.  It’s no secret that harvest is well behind this year, with only 34% of crops being combined in Alberta (47% 3-yr avg), 47% in Saskatchewan (75% 3-yr avg), and 71% in Manitoba (85% 3-yr avg) as of last week.  Wet weather has plagued the prairies, with record rainfall in Manitoba and snowfall in southern Alberta & Saskatchewan in September.  A combination of high moisture levels and widespread crop damage has contributed to diminished grade.

It’s now a race to get remaining crops off the field and although we can’t control the weather, we can help you maintain the grade of your grain by getting it dried faster and limiting spoilage.  The most effective option is a NECO dryer from Flaman, which can be scaled to the size of your operation.  However, dryer installs are contingent on many environmental and logistical factors and it’s far from a guarantee that a dryer purchased today would be installed before the end of harvest. 

So, what does a farmer do if he or she can’t get a dryer installed in time?

Our team in Saskatchewan has heard a lot of stories from our customers who’ve resorted to unconventional methods to dry their grain. The overwhelming favourite by local farmers has been the Frost Fighter (available only at our Saskatchewan locations), which is a diesel-powered 350,000 BTU industrial heater designed to heat remote construction sites and shops. As it turns out, they are also easily adaptable to a bin aeration system and can pump heat into two bins simultaneously. It’s been a lifeline given the soggy conditions.

Kelly Stewart, the operations manager at our Flaman Moosomin location, was the man who made this idea a reality:

“I saw a video a couple years ago of an Alberta farmer using a similar method and he claimed it worked like a charm. It inspired me to try it out given how wet it’s been this year. Some local farmers put it to work and were extremely pleased with the results.  It’s not a perfect solution and we know it’s not recommended by the manufacturers, but desperate times have forced us to think outside the box.

With a little extra work, moving your grain around and monitoring your moisture levels closely, we’ve heard from many happy customers that have seen up to 30,000 BU dried in a week. Obviously, the best way to dry your grain is with a dryer but given how wet it’s been and with more precipitation in the forecast, this has been a great makeshift way to salvage what has been a tough harvest.”

Interested in learning more about grain drying? Talk to one of our agriculture specialists at your nearest Flaman location.

Harvest Time - Around the Corner

And once again, the most exciting time of the year is here, Harvest. Depending on where you are in the prairies, harvest happens at different times. Some folks in Northern Alberta (La Crete area) already have the combines in full swing and in other parts, producers are just greasing up the swathers for next week. Either way, if you haven’t quite gotten into the full swing of things, it’s just around the corner. I was on top of a bin just north of Edmonton last night when I looked into the field and it hit me; harvest is underway! The sun was shining and the swathers were rolling. Harvest is a time where we get to see our efforts pay off, providing we worked late enough to get it all in the ground, prayed hard enough for the right weather to get it to grow, and crossed our fingers long enough to dodge any hail and disease.
 
Now compared to last year, this was a bit of a weird year. There doesn’t appear to be bumper crops across the board like there was last year. Throughout my travels, I have seen and heard many producers say this is the best crop they’ve had in years, and many others state this is the worst luck they’ve had in years. Last year it really didn’t matter where you went, “this is the best crop I have ever seen” was a statement heard throughout the prairies. Given the cool temperatures and all the rain that occurred at the beginning of the year, crops were pushed back about two eeks from the average. Before we knew it, it seemed like July was already gone and minimal was happening. Extended periods of warm weather in the past couple of weeks have really helped the crops start to turn.  Keep your eyes and ears open in the next couple of days, but if you haven’t already started getting snap chats and pictures sent to you that say “it’s starting” or “we’re underway!” I can assure you, you will.
 
Happy Harvest

Mitch Flaman  ...

Website © Flaman Group of Companies 2000-2021