The farmer on the phone wasn’t sure where to start. After limping through last fall, he wanted to upgrade his grain handling capacity. But should he trade dryers or add more wet holding capacity?
Out of sight, out of mind — that worked for grain drying for the better part of the past decade in many areas. Suddenly, out-of-date, worn-out and just plain inefficient grain dryers stick out like a sore thumb. That’s because one of the toughest harvest seasons in 35 years made every quirk, crack and shortcoming of your dryer painfully obvious last fall. As a result, phones are ringing off the hook in any business that sells grain dryers.
The Wednesday between Christmas and New Year’s was pretty good for Richard Minnick. On that day alone, he sold $910,000 worth of grain storage and drying equipment.
Odds are that if you haven’t already purchased at least one new grain bin for next fall, you’ve shopped and priced. And if you haven’t shopped and priced, you have at least thought about if you should add to your grain handling system before the 2010 harvest.
Gary Porter farms about as far north as you can possibly farm and still be in the state of Missouri. The Mercer County farmer likes to get his corn harvest under way in September on an early schedule that would be more typical for a corn grower in the southern part of the state.
Gary Porter anticipates a swift and smooth harvest of his 2011 corn crop. The modern grain handling system, installed on his farm in north Missouri in 2010, has given him the extra confidence to make that prediction.
Jim Purlee eased his way into air-drying grain. He started 15 years ago. By 2002, he’d cut himself off from all gas drying. Today he dries nearly a million bushels of corn with nothing but air. And it costs him just 2½ cents a bushel, on average.
Natural air-drying of grain has its advantages. Still, many growers may not have the time or space to make a go of it.