New Dryer Caps a Lengthy Expansion Project

January/February 2000 Grain Journal

The Selby, SD, Northern Plains Cooperative elevator, a division of Cenex Harvest States, in 1998 endured a year without a grain dryer of its own, thanks to a construction project that added 360,000 bushels worth of grain storage in a “six-pack” of slipform concrete tanks.

Things are going better this year, says Manager Pat Peterson. The additional storage will be helpful in landing a 108-car rail spot on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and the facility boasts a brand new 2,000-bph Model DP8XT grain dryer from Delux Mfg. Co. Inc., Kearney, NE, that has exceeded all performance expectations.

Rental Dryer
Northern Plains’ farmer-members had been considering a new dryer for several years, Peterson reports. Prior to the 1998 expansion, the facility had utilized a small, 1,000-bph MC dryer. In recent years, however, the mix of crops grown in north central South Dakota has been changing in a way that boosts demand for drying services.

“We’ve gone from handling about 80% small grains to 40%,” Peterson comments. “At the same time, we’re handling a lot more corn, soybeans, and sunflowers.”

Building the new concrete annex required the removal of the old dryer, and the project consumed most of 1998. Since the new dryer was to be sited next to the annex, it couldn’t be installed until the project was done, which turned into a serious inconvenience for coop members.

“That year was one of the wettest falls on record in South Dakota,” says Peterson. “We had 15 or 16 inches of rain, and a lot of the harvest didn’t come in until November or December.” A lot of the harvest that did come in was too wet for safe storage at 18% to 20% or higher.

Eventually, Northern Plains leased a 1,200-bph dryer temporarily to handle the incoming crop. The rental dryer processed about 300,000 bushels of corn and sunflowers.

New Dryer
When it finally came time to install a new dryer at Selby, Peterson looked at several models, but it didn’t take long before settling on the Delux unit. “We already had a 1,200-bph Delux dryer at our elevator in Gettysburg, SD, and we liked its performance in terms of size, fuel efficiency, low noise levels, and air circulation,” he says. In particular, Peterson likes the way the dryer is designed to draw air in and heat it near the top of the dryer, reserving the lower portion of the columns for cooling. This minimizes recirculation of fines, he says, which is particularly important with sunflower seed.

In addition, he has favorable words for the dryer’s Accra-Matic metering and discharge system for consistent and even discharge from every column. The new dryer is equipped with Dryer Master controls, though as of December, Peterson’s crew hadn’t had time to experiment with them. He says he expects the automated moisture controls to become a major labor saver in the next year.

Unlike 1998, the 1999 harvest season was fairly dry, so the new dryer only dried about 150,000 bushels worth of fall crops. On the whole, though, Peterson is pleased with the performance.

“I’d say we were getting up to 2,500 bph at five points of moisture removal, although we ran it fairly hot, 200 to 220 degrees for corn,” he says. The dryer emits very little in the way of fines, and even though it is located about 30 feet from Peterson’s office, it’s quiet enough that he hardly notices it. He doesn’t have any specific numbers, but he thinks its fuel consumption has been fairly economical.