Minimal Maintenance with OPICO Dryer
J.E. Horton and Partners farm a total of 740 acres at Weaver View Farm, Little Leigh, Northwich.
There are 400 acres of cereals comprising 90 acres of barley, 20 acres of spring rape and the remainder winter wheat. In addition they grow 140 acres of potatoes with the remainder down to grass. This supports a dairy herd of 90 cows, plus some beef cattle and a few sheep.
The plan is to sell off the dairy herd this autumn and increase the cereal acreage and the sheep enterprise, which currently consists of 50 lambing ewes.
The 12-ton capacity 595QF is the fourth mobile and the second OPICO machine that Mr. Horton has owned. The previous OPICO machine had a capacity of 9 tons and he decided to upgrade to cope with the volume of grain.
"Certainly, if you want to change the capacity, having a dryer on wheels is far more preferable to having one that you have got to unbolt and crane away. So we've been able to change up quite easily," he says.
The dryer is housed next to a building where they can tip a lot of grain on the floor prior to drying. They have the dryer outside but the intake auger is below ground level inside the building.
"We can just push the pile of grain over the top of the intake auger and that helps the filling."
The dryer does have a roof over it but there are no sides so that the steam, etc can easily escape. Maintenance has been minimal. They had the burner checked over before the start of the season - and a belt had to be replaced on the loading/unloading auger - "but that's something that happens".
He is more than happy with his drying costs. "This depends on how you can buy your gas; we have a large tank which enables us to shop around. But it's certainly clean and it does seem to dry efficiently."