A farmer-owned grain cooperative is reaping the benefits after replacing two ageing driers with a state-of-the-art system.
Weald Granary in Wiltshire installed two continuous flow Svegma driers in time for last year’s harvest. They replaced a pair of driers installed at the cooperative’s Marlborough site in 1987 and 1988, explained managing director John Smith.
“There is no question that our old Svegma driers had served us well,” said Mr Smith.
“Located outside of our grain store they had been exposed to the elements for over 30 years and had many hundreds of thousands of tons of grain and maize go through them. It was no surprise that they reached the end of their lives.”
Weald Granary is a grain storage, marketing and distribution co-operative, run by farmers for farmers. Grain is collected from members’ farms at harvest and then stored and marketed via one of its pools.
The store capacity is 80,000 tonnes of grain with over 200 members from Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Essex. All loads are fully tested, stored and marketed to their maximum potential.
Mr Smith says he considered a number of alternatives after deciding to replace the old driers. Mindful of energy costs and the cooperative’s environmental footprint, the potential for renewable and alternative fuels was carefully assessed.
“We have a very compact site so renewable energy was not an option because of the storage space and labour required. We wanted a drier that we could switch on, deliver instant heat and which we could just walk away and leave to get on with its job.”
Working closely with the team at BDC Systems, Mr Smith decided to replace Svegma with Svegma. He says he made the decision based on the drier’s design and its proven track record of reliability and durability.
The driers were two different sizes. The largest 6m drier had a capacity of 61 tonnes of grain per hour, while the smaller 3m drier could handle 30 tonnes. They were replaced like for like. But the burners were upgraded as the originals were obsolete.
The existing dischargers on each of the old driers were still in good condition and did not need to be replaced – further evidence of the Svegma’s build quality and durability.
Not everything above the discharge sections needed to be replaced, some parts had life left in them, but due to the labour involved with removing and refitting the handling equipment, it made economic sense to replace everything in one go.
The drier-filling conveyors, gantries, supporting steelwork, access platforms and ladders to interconnecting silos were taken off and then put back in place. Both driers previously had turboclean fans and a fresh set of galvanised units were installed with the new drier bodies.
The proven design meant that the main body dimensions were identical and made changing components of the drier relatively straightforward. In addition, it was possible to reuse all of the handling equipment’s brackets.
“The new Svegma driers were installed just in time for harvest 2022 which turned out to be one of our driest and hottest so we only ended up drying 500t of wheat. But the driers had their baptism of fire in October when we needed to dry 1,500t of wet maize which came in at 30%.”
“As usual they did their job and did it well,” added Mr Smith. “The BDC team who worked on this project will most probably be, like me, well into our retirement by the time the new Svegma driers need replacing again.”