NDSU Extension Engineer Ken Hellevang reminds farmers to be mindful of fires when drying an oil crop like sunflowers in a high temperature dryer. “Sunflowers are notorious for leading to fires in grain dryers. Generally, the fire comes from accumulated trash or foreign material in the crop,” says Hellevang. “It’s critical farmers observe the drying. Dryers need to be cleaned out each day to avoid problems.” Natural air and low temperature drying still may not work even though temperatures have warmed. “Once temperatures get below 40 degrees, the ability to dry is gone out of the air. The goal this time of the year should be to cool down the crop, hold them and dry when the temperatures warm up,” explains Hellevang. “People also talk about different moisture content. I get nervous when we are dealing with moisture contents more than 15 percent. Anything more than that needs to go through a high temperature dryer.”
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