New Year, New Grain Store?

It’s January, which means for a lot of farmers it is time to look at their goals for 2022. With the grain market reaching new heights, it might be time to invest in a new grain store and storage process to help protect your profits and push your margins higher.

A new grain store, if well built and maintained, could last you a lifetime. Whether you need to replace a leaky old barn with a new watertight one, or you need to add more storage space to make room for grain then you will also need to look at a new grain cooling process so you can sell at the ideal time for you.

Cooling grain gives you control over when and how to sell your grain. Whether you are selling barley, rape, linseed, or wheat then a process for cooling is essential. You can then play the market and sell your grain when the market is at its hottest – instead of when your grain’s temperature is.

There are plenty of options for a new grain store or barn. You could get a second-hand structure or a new one. A flat-floored store or integrate a drying system into your barn. We go over your options here and compare a drying floor with lateral pedestals and free-standing pedestals as these are the most common cooling systems available in the UK. There are several important decisions to be made.

Drying Floor

Positives

  1. A good long-term storage solution – it is a dedicated place to keep your grain if you are storing it for most of the year.
  2. This system can dry and cool grain, so it eliminates the need for two systems.

Negatives

  1. Drying floors are very expensive compared to other systems, and you cannot use the barn for other storage after you have sold your grain.
  2. England has a mild climate, so it isn’t common for grain to need to be dried before storage as Farmers can harvest grain at a good moisture level without the need for additional drying.

Laterals

Positives

  1. It is easy to load grain, as the pedestals won’t move around.
  2. The fans pull the warm air straight outside the barn, which could help with cooling at an ambient temperature.

Negatives

  1. It is difficult to unload the grain as you need to manoeuvre your bucket around permanently installed pedestals if you don’t load from the ceiling.
  2. You don’t have as much flexibility on how many fans you use, with free-standing pedestal systems you can move your fans around where you need them if you are on a tight budget.

Free-standing Pedestals

Positives

  1. Effective cooling, using ambient temperature and energy-efficient fan cooling methods. Free-standing pedestals are incredibly energy efficient and can save you time and money by cooling your grain at the best time.
  2. Free-standing pedestal cooling systems are inexpensive compared to alternative systems.
  3. You can use your barn as storage at other points of the year. This is particularly useful if you do several different types of farming or want to create an alternative form of revenue by renting out your storage space.

Negatives

  1. Potential to damage pedestals while loading or unloading. Plug&Cool chose to make their pedestals out of food-grade hardwearing polypropylene, which will withstand even the toughest of knocks.
  2. You can’t dry grain as well as cool it. However, as mentioned earlier, in England we can harvest grain at a good moisture level. Also, free-standing pedestals have the potential to dry your grain by a couple of percent while it is being cooled so even in a wetter year you can still sell it at a good level.

After the year’s work you have put in to grow your crops, to have claims or rejections made when you sell them is frustrating. So, deciding how to cool your grain can seem like an overwhelming decision, hopefully, this article can help you decide. However, if you still have questions then get in touch with our friendly team who can answer any of your questions. Give us a call on 01621 868 138 or email sales@plugandcool.co.uk.

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