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Menzies Farms Ltd., Provost, Alberta

Harvest at Menzies farms, happens earlier because of the Grain DryerHarvest at Menzies farms, happens earlier because of the Grain Dryer

Brian Peat, the manager of the 16,000 acre Menzies Farms Ltd. at Provost, Alberta, farms in country where fall rain and harvest often conflict. Ripe grain can stand in the field for weeks, waiting for it to be dry enough to harvest. Either the moisture content is too high, or the field is simply too wet for harvesting equipment. In the past, this problem has cost Brian both grain grades, and sometimes even the majority of the crop. That was then.this is now.

In 2005, Menzies Farms Ltd. had Skyway Grain Systems install a grain handling system that ended all of the suspense surrounding fall harvest. Here’s how it works.


The system consists of a 4000 bushel (108 MT) Westeel overhead bin, six 11,000 bushel (300 MT) hopper bins, six 52,000 bushel (1415 MT) flat bottom storage bins, a 12″ Hutchinson Grain Pump, two Lambton Grain Legs, and a Grain Dryer.

How does this help Brains harvesting problem?

Before the installation of this grain handling system, Brain was at the mercy of Mother Nature. Harvest was a constant wait and see approach as to what the weather might bring to how quickly they could get there crop out of the field.
Not any more.


The grain handling system is built around the Grain Dryer. At 1700 bushels per hour cooled (46 MTPH), this dryer can operate for 24 hours per day and keep up to a full day of harvest in the wettest conditions. The 2005 harvest began when the grain moisture content reached 20%. Brain was in the field long before any of his neighbors. Potentially Brian could be in the field with the moisture content of the grain at 25%. Brian now has the capacity to start harvest earlier and to get back in the field earlier after a rain. He is now controlling his harvest with the use of the dryer instead of harvest controlling him. The Crop now is off quicker which allows him to save possible lost money in declined grades and he also has the peace of mind that his harvest is proceeding instead of sitting and waiting for Mother Nature to dry the crop down to a point where it is harvestable.

Here is how his system was designed:


All of the silos are connected with a 12″ Hutchinson Grain Pump. Every bin in the line can be filled from and emptied back to the truck drive way using this unique conveyor/elevator. The six 11,000 bushel hopper bins are his wet and dry surge bins before and after the dryer. 4 of these hoppers are for wet surge and two are for dry surge. The system has a separate conveyor underneath the four wet surge hoppers (right beside the 12″ Hutchinson Grain Pump) which transfers grain from these hoppers to a wet grain leg which fills the dryer. The dryer gravity feeds into a dry transfer conveyor which takes the dry grain to a dry bucket elevator leg, which fills the two dry surge hoppers. Once these two dry surge hoppers are full, the 12″ Hutchinson Grain Pump transfers the dry grain out to one of the 52,000 bushel flat bottom bins at the end of the line for long term storage. These separate legs and conveyors filling and emptying the dryer allow Brian to continue to receive trucks from the field and transfer freshly harvested grain into one of the wet surge hoppers with the 12″ Hutchinson Grain Pump without disrupting the continuous flow dryer.


The Dryer is a “Duct Flow Dryer” not a screen dryer. In other words, every kernel of grain is treated exactly the same so the kernels in the sample are consistently dry, not an average of slightly drier and slightly wetter kernels as produced out of a screen dryer. The Dryer has a mixed flow design which means that the grain is dried and mixed throughout the drying process. The grain is introduced to the system from the grain leg at the top of the dryer. The grain then flows downward, gravity driven, around alternating layers of warm and cool air ducts. The warm air ducts push warmed air through the grain as it descends through the dryer. The warm moisture laden air is exhausted from the system through cool air ducts to the exterior.

After the days harvest concludes, if it has been a particularly wet day the wet surge bins will be close to full and the grain dryer will run throughout the night drying grain with fully automated controls. The dryer controls the two conveyors in front of it as well as the two conveyors behind it. With 22,000 bushel of dry surge hoppers behind the dryer, Brian can go and get a good nights sleep knowing that he will have empty wet surge in the morning for the start of a new harvest day.

Each bin is equipped with aeration capabilities. The hopper bins feature the Edwards Grain Guard Aeration and the flat bottom bins feature the round pit Circ Air system from Westeel.

So that’s the end of Brain Peat’s wet harvest problems. He is now harvesting while his neighbors are waiting. Now his crop is safely in storage before the disastrous rainy fall season has ruined his dreams of a profitable grain growing season.


In addition to the efficient system for his own harvest, Brain has been able to offer custom grain drying for clients who don’t have the drying capacity themselves – another profit center. The present system also has a built-in capability to add grain cleaning to the mix, and has the option of adding a second line of flat bottom bins with a 12″ Hutchinson Grain Pump wrapped around, all connected to the dry surge hoppers in the existing line at the push of a button.