Here is a question I got from Quebec:
“Mr. Palmer, Last fall we discussed a lot about grain ventilation. I remember how you where generous on this subject. I want to share with you what we do. This year we will do other observations. The producer where we will make observations will get a 4 noodles cable with Stormax. (20’ x 20’ silo). However, control will be executed by water balance at least for the stop time. Re-start will be done manually or by timer followed automatic running. I will try to share you these informations including stormax data if possible. Do you think this approach is good ? Do you have suggestions ?
The producer is supposed to fill it with 2-3 crops (first : rye…temporary storage, second : Oats…temporary storage, third : soya). In the litterature I did not find EMC equation for rye. Is it similar to wheat ? Do you think Opi systems have it ?”
I gave the following reply:
Good to hear from you. I will try to answer your questions. I am not sure what a 4 noodle cable is, I am assuming it is one with 4 senors, that is 4 sensor temp and 4 senors for relative humidity. I am assuming that you are doing a water balance to stop by calculating the absolute humidity of the discharge air and comparing it to the absolute humidity of the inlet air. And you only stop the fan if the absolute humidity of the inlet air is greater than the absolute humidity of the discharge air? Great. To turn the fan on we can’t use the discharge air, but we do want to know what the absolute humidity of the air in the silo is? There are two ways to do this. 1. this is the best way and it can be done if you have a temp and RH sensor in the core of your grain or crop. Use the T and RH as you did before to determine the absolute humidity. 2. If you don’t have the RH sensor in the body of grain, and only the temp of the grain, you can use EMC equations. By plugging in the moisture content and temp of your grain, you can determine the RH to which it will find equilibrium. Use this RH and T to determine the absolute humidity. If this absolute humidity is greater than the absolute humidity of the outside air, then you have a drying condition and the fan should be turned on. You can use the calculator that I made to do this for you. Just plug in the temp and moisture content of your grain, and the outside temp, and the calculator gives you an RH thrreshold, if the outside RH is below this then you will be drying, anything above this, and it will be wetting. Actually the only thing I am doing with the calculator is the math for the EMC equations. And no I don’t know the EMC equation for rye, but with a little digging I am sure I could find it. I think it would be OK to use wheat — it would be close.
My calculator can be found at planetcalc.com Grain Drying Calculator
Grain Drying all comes down to something pretty simple. If the outside air has an absolute humidity less than the absolute humidity of the air inside your bin or silo, then you have a drying condition. The only thing you need to calculate the absolute humidity is the temperature and the relative humidity. When the fan is on, the relative humidity is read at the point of discharge and when the fan is off you get the relative humidity by reading an RH sensor directly in the body of grain, or if you don’t have this RH sensor then you must resort to using an EMC equation (or my calculator) to determine the RH.
Still thank you Mr Palmer, Yes it is supposed to be an Opi Cable with 4 points reading of T, RH and EMC. When you talk about a T&RH sensor in the grain, what position do you suggest : at the top, at the surface or in the grain and if so how deep ?
The sensor in the grain, the RH & T sensor, should represent as much as possible the entire grain bulk. We know that the bottom has more variation than the top. So I am thinking in the center of the bin or silo, about two thirds to three quarters the way up. You don’t want it too high because shrinkage may lower the grain and leave the sensor exposed to the air, which can be greatly influenced by the open discharge port. We also considered averaging several sensors to get an average T and RH, but one can get into trouble really quickly because the pyschrometric equations to calculate absolute humidity are non-linear, so I think using just a single sensor might be better.
Also the fan must be off for some time to use this sensor, as one must wait for the air in the grain to ‘equalize’ with the grain. I am thinking at least a half an hour or maybe an hour..
Integris of Opi Systems has the capability to start and stop automatically the ventilator by comparison of grain EMC with air intake. To stop ventilator, how this decision is good considering air is not equalized with the grain. To be correct and to take the good decision, ventilator should it be off for a while and then make the calculation after 0,5-1 h ? Do you think so ? Another explanation : Would they correct the reading, considering it is not in a stabilized situation ?
I also ask myself if the decision to stop or to start is depending of one, a combination or the average of all sensors in the bin.
I hope all these questions are not bothering you. Your informations are very usefull to understand.
EMC is equilibrium moisture content, notice the word equilibrium! You must wait some time for equilibrium to occur. Our data shows that you can not correctly do an EMC while the fan is running. You get the wrong value. The correct way to control the fan is with the absolute humidity, and if you have RH sensors, there is no need to even do an EMC.