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Get Air Moving Through Hopper Bins

Farmers interested in converting their existing hopper bottom bins into aeration bins now have a couple options as two western Canadian companies introduce retrofit kits that makes it possible to install perforated cylinders that stand in the centre of bins to move air through stored commodities.

Meridian Manufacturing, which is part of the Westman Group of companies, and Grain Guard which is part of Ag Growth International at Swift Current, Sask., both have introduced their respective systems for getting air movement through hopper bottom bins to cool and/or assist with drying of crops.

Meridian has developed its AirMax aeration system, while Grain Guard has introduced the Retro Rocket. Both were unveiled at the 2011 Farm Progress Show in Regina, in June.

“Farmers can lose huge amounts of money either by delaying harvest until crops are “dry” enough for storage, or by storing grain that may be a few points high in moisture,” says Sid Lockhart marketing manager for Meridian. “Dry grain can get too hot, and grain that’s a bit high in moisture can heat, develop pockets of spoilage and attract insects. With hopper bottom bins, already on the farm, the issue has been how to get air moving through the stored grain.”

Relatively low capacity horizontal aeration systems for hopper bottom bins have been available, but the AirMax is a much improved vertical design, with mounting brackets that attach to the cone wall that allow it to stand up into the centre of the bin. Because it stands up inside the stored commodity it can deliver high capacity airflow through a full bin.

The Meridian AirMax system, available this fall, is a heavy duty, fully perforated cylinder or plenum, which stands about eight feet tall. It has a duct that extends to the outside of the bin, where any conventional aeration fan can be connected to force air into the plenum and up through the stored grain, oilseed or pulse crop in the bin.

The AirMax aeration system comes in sections, which can be carried into bin through the man-access door on the hopper for assembly. Lockhart says it will take about two to three hours to install the aeration cylinder in each bin.

“The cylinder itself is well built and extremely durable and it is held in place by very sturdy mounting brackets,” says Lockhart. “Once it is installed it will last the life of the bin.”

The AirMax system is a retrofit system designed to fit in all bin sizes from 2,000 to 20,000 bushel capacity bins. It comes in 30 and 45-inch diameters, with actual plenum heights of four to six feet, depending on the size of bin and desired airflow capacity. Price range on the AirMax kits is $1,600 to $3,500 depending on size. For more information visit www.meridianmfg.com.

While Grain Guard has had The Rocket aeration system for new hopper bottom bins on the market for some time, the Retro Rocket is a new design that can be installed in existing hopper bottom bins.

The Retro Rocket, which stands about five-feet tall mounts to the very bottom of the hopper just above the hole in the cone. The cylinder or plenum is actually designed in six panels, which fold flat so it can be carried into the hopper through the man-access door. Once inside, the connected panels are unfolded to create the aeration cylinder. Grain Guard says it takes about 30 minutes for two people to install Retro Rocket. More information can be found on the company website at: www.grainguard.com/retrorocket

LeeHartisafieldeditorforGrainewsin Calgary,Contacthimat403-592-1964orby emailat [email protected]

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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