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A grain drying facility with a capacity of almost 16,000 tonnes is enabling cereal grower Alan Cottrell to contract store grain for Frontier Agriculture. Success for 16,000t storage facility

A grain drying facility with a capacity of almost 16,000 tonnes is enabling cereal grower Alan Cottrell to contract store grain for Frontier Agriculture.

JA&D Cottrell worked closely with Nash Grain Services and BDC Systems to design the state-of-the-art plant. The business farms some 866ha near Wantage, in Oxfordshire.

With an eye on continued expansion, Mr Cottrell says it was vital to generate an additional revenue stream. This meant ensuring a big enough capacity to store grain on contract for third parties.

“It was important that the first phase of development enabled us to increase our drying capacity to 60 tonnes per hour. We needed to store our own grain and be able to dry and store grain for large grain merchants.”

The machinery building holds a large volume intake pit, a Skandia Elevator 120tph intake conveyor with self-regulating inlets, additional Skandia conveyors and elevators, and an Aagaard 120tph heavy duty aspiration pre-cleaner.

Incoming grain

This is linked to an outside located Svegma SVC9/6 60tph continuous flow grain dryer. A 120tph Skandia belt and bucket elevator and 120tph chain and flight top conveyor transport the incoming grain into a 160t capacity hopper bottom wet holding silo.

Skandia conveyors are the only conveyors with self-regulating inlets, explains BDC managing director Andrew Head. With other conveyors the amount of grain entering the conveyor has to be regulated manually.

From the silo, the grain is transported on demand through the Aagaard aspiration pre-cleaner, to remove any light impurities, into the Svegma continuous flow grain dryer. If the grain comes in dry there is an option to bypass the dryer.

From the drier outlet the grain can then be transported to various storage areas or bunkers. Mr Cottrell says all the machinery is easily accessible and blockage sensors are fitted so  everything shuts down until it’s fixed if there is a problem.

The first phase also included a floor store which is linked via Skandia conveyors to the machinery building. To reduce the initial build cost, above-floor BDC corraduct laterals were installed with mobile ventilation fans.

Mobile ventilation

The second phase of development allowed additional grain storage and was designed with bunkers to enable the storage of different varieties of crops. Flight store levelling conveyors ensure maximum fill of the building.

“Listening to advice from BDC and after weighing up the advantages of significantly improving the ventilation of the stored crop against the increased cost, we took the decision to install below floor aeration laterals,” says Mr Cottrell.

“There is no question that below floor aeration laterals provide a much more even ventilation across each bunker, helping to ensure that grain remains in the best possible condition.”

Grain’s moisture and temperature are monitored manually, with fans are turned off and on as necessary. But Mr Cottrell says he is looking closely at BDC’s Moisture Monitoring Systems.

This  system sends a text message if a pre-defined temperature is reached, allowing the grain store operator to remotely change the control on the dryer as and when needed.