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Wood-Fired Crop Dryer
"It cost me just $136 and, in two seasons, it's dried 21,000 bu. of corn," says Fred Seeman, Chenoa, Ill., about his built-from scratch, wood fired dryer that features a huge 12-ft. long firebox.
Fred has used the dryer furnace two seasons, drying 9,000 bu. of his corn crop in 1981 and 12,000 bu. last fall. His costs, had he hauled the corn into town along with the rest of his crop, would have ranged from 11 to 14 per bu. Corn dried with the new furnace cost just 2 to 3 cents per bu. for electricity to power the fan.
"I spend very little time tending it maybe 5 min. every 3 to 5 hours on my way out of the field with another load of grain," he points out. "The only problem is keeping the fire from burning too hot."
The unique furnace consists of a used 2,000 gal. fuel tank transversed end to end by 5 large pipes. Seeman made the pipes from old 100-lb. LP tanks welded together with the ends cut off. The tanks are made from heavy 10 ga. steel able to withstand high temperatures in the furnace. The pipes run through either end of the tank and are completely sealed from the fire chamber inside.
Covering the outside of the tank with several inches in between is a corrugated steel canopy. The canopy, along with the inside pipes, are the heat exchanging chambers that pick up corn drying heat.
"An air funnel leads down to the dryer fan. The fan pulls air in through the pipes and from the outer shell of the furnace where hot air is collected off the outer surface of the firebox. All of the hot air pulled into the furnace is clean. All smoke and ash exits through the smokestack," explains Seeman.
He uses the burner on a 3,000 bu. bin. The furnace is mounted on a trailer, so it can be moved from building to building. He empties it just once a season, cleaning out about a half pickup load of ashes.
Propane tanks used to build the dryer were bought used from a local propane dealer for $1.50 apiece. The fuel tank was purchased at a local sale. The only change Seeman says he'd make would be to install a centrifugal fan so hot air entering the bin wouldn't be pulled directly over the fan motor, as on his current model.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Fred Seeman, Rt. 2, Chenoa, Ill. 61726 (ph 815 945-4151).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #6