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He Uses Cutting Torch To Dry Grain
Like many other farmers, David Peters, Morden, Manitoba, uses liquid propane to dry grain. However, he does it like no one else, using a propane torch instead of a batch dryer.
His torch burns full blast at the end of a pair of welded-together steel barrels that bolt onto the bin's aeration fan. A steady flow of propane is fed to the torch by a trailer-mounted LP tank.
"It lets me put grain into storage without having to run it through my batch dryer first, which speeds up harvest. It also reduces handling damage to my confectionary sunflowers," says Peters, who uses his propane torch method to dry grain in two 1,650-bu. bins equipped with aeration floors.
He cut the ends out of two 45-gal. steel barrels and welded them together, then welded in a 15-in. dia. disc blade off a tandem disk inside one of the barrels to act as a flame deflector. The torch mounts in the center of the barrel opening, clamped to a bracket screwed to the sides of the barrel. He bolted the other end of the double barrel to the aeration fan.
"I've used it to dry sunflowers at 17% moisture down to 7 or 8% at the bottom of the bin and 9.5% on top. The per bushel drying cost is about the same as with a batch dryer. but there's a lot less work," says Peters. "I dump grain into the bin then dry it when I have time without having to remove it. I use a meat temperature probe in the aeration fan to check air temperature going in.
"The flame deflector disc is about 18 inches from the torch and about 5 ft. from the fan. It keeps the fan from sucking the flame in. The fan creates a lot of air movement around the disc. I was concerned that it might put out the flame, but it hasn't been a problem. With all the air movement the flame really shoots out and provides a very steady heat - if the outside temperature rises a few degrees, the thermometer shows it right away. I keep the air temperature at 80 to 90 degrees by adjusting the torch. Too much heat could cause the fan motor to burn out.
"If grain is dry at the bottom of the bin but still wet on top, I can reverse the fan to suck warm air down through the grain.
"I got the idea because I grow confectionary sunflowers and wanted to dry them without putting them through my batch dryer - the extra augering and movement of sunflowers through the dryer can damage them. The only disadvantage is that compared to a batch dryer it takes longer to dry the grain.
"By unbolting the barrels from the aeration fan I can move it to my other aeration bin."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, David Peters, Box 234, Rt. 2, Morden, Manitoba, Canada ROG 130 (ph 204 822-3305).

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1995 - Volume #19, Issue #3