In agriculture, every day, numerous crops are produced: many of them are intended to be used for animal feed, many others reach our tables. We are talking about legumes and cereals, a fundamental part for a proper nutrition. These products require a treatment always indispensable even though it is probably not known by everyone: the drying. To answer this need, the best and most advantageous solution is an agricultural dryer: what is it? And why should every farmer and farm use it? Mecmar, international leader in the design and manufacture of grain dryers, will explain its importance in this article.
What is an agricultural dryer?
The term agricultural dryer means a specific machine aimed at drying various types of crops, especially legumes and cereals. Drying is an essential treatment for the storage and sale of these products: for this reason, dryers are a must-have for any farmer and farm of any dimension. Just as the combine harvester is essential to collect the cereal from the field, the dryer is necessary after harvesting, to make it possible to store the cereal that would otherwise go mouldy, leading to the waste – in a few hours or days – of the effort made from sowing to ripening.
There are two main types of dryers: mobile dryers (smaller in size and easy to transport) and tower dryers (larger in size and possible to be integrated into storage systems). Generally, an agricultural dryer consists of two main parts: head and drying cylinder. The cylinder is the container of product to dry which includes several components: the base cylinder to hold the cereal, the plenum chamber for uniform heat diffusion, the loading hopper to load comfortably from a shovel or from trailer, the unloading head and the central auger to recirculate the product. The head, on the other hand, can use direct flame or indirect flame and its main components are the combustion chamber, the burner (necessary to produce the heat necessary for drying) and the electrical panel, which can be very simple or complex, with an automation system and remote control.
Operation of an agricultural dryer
The agricultural dryer treats the cereal in order to eliminate excess moisture. Drying consists in the partial separation of water from the grain, a porous material composed of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and mineral salts. The elimination of water occurs by evaporation: due to the difference in partial pressure of the water vapor between the surface of the product and the air, the H2O molecules are transferred from the cereal to the surrounding air.
The dryers are designed to be multi-crop solutions, suitable for many crops (wheat, rice, corn, rapeseed, barley, soybeans and more). The operating cycle of an agricultural dryer is divided into four phases: loading, drying, cooling and discharge.
There is a substantial distinction between mobile dryers and tower dryers: the mobile dryers carry out a discontinuous cycle drying, in which the volume of product to be dried is loaded into the dryer and completely discharged at the end of the phases of drying and cooling; the tower dryers, on the contrary, operate in a continuous cycle: the cereal is continuously extracted from the base of the dryer, dried and cooled.
Advantages of the agricultural dryer
The use of the agricultural dryer is essential, because it allows you to obtain great benefits. Drying is one of the most important processes of the entire cereal chain: it has the purpose of preparing the cereal for long-term storage. On the one hand, all the enzymes and nutritional elements of the cereal are preserved and, on the other, the processes of aging, fermentation and development of toxins and microtoxins are slowed down.
Thanks to drying, the cereals can also be stored for long periods of time, so that they can also possibly cushion the risks due to any bad harvests or adverse climatic conditions. The benefit is evident from a nutritional point of view: dried cereal represents a safer and more nutritious food and this treatment does not compromise its original quality. Last but not least, an agricultural dryer allows you to increase productivity and, consequently, profits.
Mobile dryers and tower dryers also have different benefits from one another, thanks to their distinct structural characteristics. A mobile dryer (which covers the needs of small and medium-sized producers) can be moved easily, offering flexibility and versatility without sacrificing strength and effectiveness. The tower dryer, on the other hand, processes large quantities of cereal at a time automatically and allows high hourly production with a small footprint in plan.
The agricultural dryer is the ideal solution for farms, both small and more structured, since it allows to treat cereals safely and optimizing times and costs. An agricultural dryer consists of two main parts (the heat generator and the cereal tank to dry) which are made up of numerous components and can function - following a single basic principle in four phases, namely loading, drying, cooling and discharge - both continuous cycle (tower dryers) and discontinuous cycle (mobile dryers).
Mecmar has been manufacturing mobile dryers for over forty years and tower dryers for more than twenty years. They are appreciated worldwide for their strength and reliability. If you want to find out which of our models is right for you, giving you the best results, do not hesitate to contact us: the Mecmar team is ready to answer all your questions.