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Are You Making Any of These Common Mistakes in Grain Handling?

Nowadays, a grain bin is used for more than just storage. A grain bin has to be an effective grain handling system, which means the bin must also be able to dry and condition grain regularly. To keep up in the industry these days, grain storage facilities need to be adequately equipped to fill these purposes.

However, costly mistakes often get made when building new systems or upgrading old ones. Avoiding these errors can help you turn a greater profit for years to come. To help you steer clear of making major grain bin mistakes, we’ve gathered five common grain handling blunders and how to avoid them.

5 Common Mistakes in Grain Handling

Check out these five common grain handling mistakes so you can avoid making them yourself:

1. You Haven’t Made Grain Quality a Priority

If you aren’t prioritizing grain quality, your grain could be suffering significant damage. Grain damage and shrinkage can come from several sources, including broken kernels, insects and pests, and moisture and temperature damage. Once grain gets damaged in these ways, it is no longer usable. Wasted products mean you just lost a considerable amount of time and money.

To protect the quality of your grain, you’ll need to invest in reliable and cost-effective methods of minimizing grain damage. One of the best ways to reduce unusable grain is to use a Dead Box Adjustable Round (DBAR). A DBAR has an internal cone along with an adjustable baffle to collect and cushion grain, creating a consistent pocket of grain to generate a higher-quality product while keeping your operation running efficiently.

When you lose less grain to damage, your entire operation will become more cost-effective and efficient. With a DBAR cushion box, you will get more usable grain with fewer expenses, which will positively impact your bottom line. The DBAR can reduce grain damage by more than 50%, making your operation more productive and profitable overall.

2. You Haven’t Made Safety a Priority

Clear grain handling safety standards are essential to every grain storage facility. Managing grain comes with its own set of operational hazards and risks to be aware of, including on-site equipment and processing techniques. Specifically, be aware of these five most notable safety hazards:

  1. Dust accumulations
  2. Hazardous atmospheres
  3. Confined spaces
  4. Emergencies
  5. Explosions

To avoid the issues listed above, establish a grain handling safety checklist that includes the following five components:

  1. Preventive maintenance: Regular inspections of heat-producing devices can help prevent explosions.
  2. Grain bins equipped for safety: Label all bins with the appropriate warning stickers. Consider investing in a Dust Suppression Hopper to keep dangerous dust production to a minimum.
  3. Lock-out-tag-out procedures: Employees should turn off, lock and tag all pieces of grain bin equipment before letting workers enter.
  4. Testing the air: Perform an oxygen level test before allowing anyone to enter the grain bin to ensure the CO2 levels are safe.
  5. Personal protective equipment (PPE): All workers should wear PPE when entering the grain bin to avoid full or partial engulfment.

Along with adhering to a safety checklist, your grain storage facility should have its own rescue procedures for dealing with emergencies. Additionally, outfitting your facility with durable, corruption-resistant and reliable machinery will improve security and efficiency.

3. You Haven’t Planned Ahead for Expansion

Planning for future expansion is critical in the grain industry. When designing a grain storage facility, it’s important to take potential growth into account. Of course, you need to include space for adding more grain storage bins, but you also need to section off space for these essential items:

  • Wet storage: Your facility’s storage capacity for wet bushels will need to expand as your business grows. Allow space for extra wet storage from the start.
  • Dryers: You will need to match your expansion of wet storage with more dryers. Another detail to consider as your business grows is the potential need for dryers with higher capacities.
  • Segregated grains: The number of grain bins your facility needs will depend on how many types of grain and the quantity of each variety you’ll need to store. You will need at least one bin for each variety of grain. However, you may want to consider investing in multiple bins for each type of grain so you don’t lose all of that type if something goes wrong with one of the bins.
  • Traffic: As your operation expands, it may become too time-consuming to load and unload grain from the same station. To avoid this problem, design your storage facility with two distinct stations — one for loading grain and one for dumping it. Separating your loading and unloading stations will increase your efficiency by allowing you to move faster while decreasing time spent harvesting.

4. You Don’t Have an Inventory Management System

While maintaining accurate knowledge of your inventory levels is key to managing a large-scale grain storage operation, it can be extremely challenging to keep track of your inventory at all times. Fortunately, smart bin level measurement systems make tracking inventory levels and silo level management much easier.

Silo level sensors from LCDM involve a laser, rugged mounting system and one simple-to-use app that enables you to monitor the amount of material within a silo continuously for fully comprehensive and tighter inventory control. Due to its sophisticated sensors and straightforward design, the bin level monitor can provide immediate, dependable feedback about silo levels so you’ll always be up-to-date on the state of your grain management operations.

Additionally, knowing the exact levels of material in your storage bins in real time allows you to ensure the bins never get overfilled. Because constant data about grain stores enables you to boost productivity while lowering costs, a bin level monitor can benefit any size and type of grain storage facility.

5. You Have Custom Needs Without a Custom Design

Often, the standard grain flow products are not the perfect match for your distribution operation. Each grain flow system is unique and needs equipment specific to its purpose, size, climate, conditions, type of grain and more.

If you want to optimize your grain distribution operation, you need products designed specifically for your facility. Custom grain handling solutions enable an operation to be as efficient as possible to maximize its revenue. For products that fit your operation’s exact needs, LCDM offers custom grain handling options to solve the obstacles you face as a millwright or mill operator.

LCDM provides greater quality and skill within the realm of grain distribution product design and engineering so your operation can function smoothly at its highest capacity. To ensure you receive the best custom product support possible, LCDM offers in-house 3D design support for any customer who needs it.

Contact LCDM to Avoid Making These Mistakes

If you want to avoid falling prey to these common grain handling mistakes, partner with LCDM to make sure you get the right equipment for your operation. Even the standard grain flow equipment at LCDM is custom-designed to meet our standards, which are far higher than typical industry standards.

To learn more about your options for improving your grain handling operation, contact LCDM today.

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