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Storage Efficiency with Automatic Monitoring

Published February 2014 – Installing automatic monitoring in their grain stores is helping the Ireland brothers ensure the quality of the malting barley and other crops they grow, as well as relieving them of the time consuming job of monitoring stores manually.

The Barn Owl Wireless system – supplied by Martin Lishman Ltd – fitted on their 7,000 tonne stores at North Rauceby Farms, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire, also produces all the data they need for both the farm’s ACCS and TASCC (Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops) accreditation’s:

“It makes our storage and record keeping much more professional”, says Mark Ireland, who runs the farm with his brother James and father Tony.

Their home farm is 800 hectares, with a further four farms run on contract adding another 600 hectares to that. Grain from all farms is now stored at the main farmstead, and they also market the grain from three of the contract farms alongside their own – hence the decision to join the TASCC scheme.

Most of the land is Lincolnshire limestone brash, with malting barley and sugar beet dominating the cropping on the lighter areas, with milling and feed wheat’s along with oilseed rape being grown where land is stronger.

“We initially installed Barn Owl Wireless in one store, and immediately saved a huge amount of management time by avoiding the need to check grain temperatures manually.

“The system is very accurate and reliable, and helps us locate problems and respond to them quickly. We can check the temperatures very simply over the net, and can also view the store’s history as well. We do still check the stores personally on a regular basis for pests, leaks and problems like that”, he says.

The temperature measurements help them decide when to turn the fans on and off, which James – who lives on the farmstead where the stores are located – does manually.

5,000 tonnes of their storage has under floor laterals, with the remaining 2,000 being blown by Martin Lishman Ltd’s Pile-Dry Pedestals, with power for the stores – and the farm’s offices – coming from a set of solar panels:

“We usually wait for a five degree differential between the temperature outside the store and that inside before we start the fans. Everything goes through a dresser and drier before going into store, so it is clean and dry, and contains no chaff or dust, which helps us manage it”.

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