Rice Drying, Storage Systems

BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER
MidAmerica Farmer Grower


HARRISBURG, ARK.
    On-farm rice drying and storage has drawn much interest from rice growers lately, and Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen, director of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Rice Processing Program, discussed the dos and don’ts of that effort recently.
    “One of the main concepts used for control of fan operation and monitoring of grain condition in the current systems is equilibrium moisture content,” he began. “It’s extremely important to know the relationship between the temperature of the air, relative humidity of the air, and how that impacts the moisture content that grain such as rice will eventually come to.  That principle is used in several of the drying and storage systems that are used on-farm today.”
    At least two different kinds of systems are used currently in Arkansas. One is used just basically to measure the temperature and relative humidity of the air, calculate the corresponding equilibrium moisture content, and from that determine whether or not a fan will be turned on or off. Another system actually uses the same kind of principle, but also utilizes a cabling system that actually monitors temperature and relative humidity at various radiuses within a bin and from the bottom to the top of the bin as well.
    “The beauty of that system is that we can monitor not just on sight but we can monitor remotely what the moisture content and the temperature profiles within a bin would look like,” he said.
    Siebenmorgen said that controlling the fan run time is very, very important.
    “We need to know what’s going on inside bins because elevated temperatures and elevated moisture content, for too long a period of time, can really deteriorate the quality of the grain. So it’s very important to monitor that, dry the grain in a reasonable time, and then store the grain over time at reasonable temperatures to avoid quality degradation that’s so important to marketing grain these days.”                           ∆
Betty Valle Gegg-Naeger: Senior Staff Writer, MidAmerica Farmer Grower


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