An unpredictable climate, the environmental crisis, uncertain food security and now soaring energy prices are just some of the on-going challenges facing agriculture today. The negative effects these events are having on the industry has spawned radical new thinking in technology to improve farming productivity and efficiency. Crop Storage Specialists Martin Lishman Ltd believe that promoting best storage practice plays an important role in reducing energy consumption and food waste. Their award-winning wireless grain monitoring system, Barn Owl Wireless has helped farmers throughout the UK and beyond optimise their crop storage conditions to achieve these two aims and retain a higher-quality yield.
For brothers Chris and Tom Owen of J.G.Owen & Co, a Barn Owl Wireless system was the number one choice for taking full control of their 6000 ton crop store in Shrewsbury. “We farm around 3500 acres, with some owned, some tenanted and the vast majority being contract farmed for 9 different customers”, explains Chris and Tom Owen. “We specified Martin Lishman Pile-Dry Pedestals and Fans when putting up a store in 2013 so it was a natural step to use Barn Owl Wireless to monitor temperatures and control the fans”.
Barn Owl Wireless gives store managers the ability to monitor crop store temperatures from anywhere in the world. Wireless crop temperature sensors are installed in a configuration to suit the shape and size of the store or silo and transmit temperature data to the user via the mobile phone network and a cloud-based server. Store managers can then log on to their Barn Owl Wireless web page on any internet-enabled device to check temperature, humidity and even CO2 readings for all their stores.
“It’s very easy to see how the entire shed is looking in terms of temperature at the click of a mouse, rather than trooping through with a spear and writing down readings”, adds the Owens.
Wireless grain monitoring systems such as Barn Owl Wireless can turn cooling fans on and off remotely using fully automatic fan control modes. Utilising Martin Lishman’s wireless fan controllers, almost any cooling fan can be connected to the Barn Owl Wireless network and controlled automatically. In automatic mode, the system uses a choice of control programmes and only turns the fans on when it is most efficient to do so, which results in faster cooling and a reduction of at least 40% on energy bills.
For the Owens, it gave them peace of mind that the fans would only be turned on when needed: “It’s very easy to forget to turn fans off during the day, or turn them back on again in the evening, so it’s good to know that this is happening every day without anyone having to remember. There’s no point in having them running if the ambient temperature is too high and with electricity prices doubling, the onus on only using them as much as absolutely necessary is only increasing.”
With the clear success of the wireless grain monitoring system, when it was time for J.G.Owen & Co to build another grain store, the decision was already made when it came to choosing the monitoring and control system. “We’ve had no reliability issues with the system in the old store. It works extremely well, so we saw no reason to run a different system in the new shed when what we’ve got is bombproof. The new 6000 ton store will be of the same size and we are having Barn Owl Wireless system installed in that too”, the Owens concluded.
“We were thrilled when J.G.Owen & Co announced they would be installing another Barn Owl Wireless System,” says Joel Capper, Sales Director for Martin Lishman Ltd. “Stored crops can suffer a drastic loss of quality if not managed correctly so having the ability to drive grain temperatures down quickly to an acceptable level significantly reduces the risk. Plus, with rising electricity prices, the energy cost savings are going to become even more apparent.”
The beauty of Barn Owl Wireless is that it can be adapted to suit any size storage facility. The modular design means anyone can gain the benefits of fast, efficient cooling and reduced energy costs. The use of a cloud-based online portal removes the potential complications of PC software, such as bugs or compatibility issues with device changes and updates. All that’s required to use Barn Owl Wireless is a web browser and internet connection.
Many farmers have realised the true potential of Barn Owl Wireless for optimising the monitoring and control practices of their stored crop. With 100s of farms using the system, Martin Lishman continues to lead the way in crop store monitoring and control.
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