What will it cost to dry your grain?

While bins and air-flow mechanisms vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, what’s certain is that you’ll pay more than you did last year. You can still save money, however, by keeping a close eye on your operating costs.

A handbook from MidWest Plan Service (www.mwps.org) offers the following cost estimates for drying and cooling corn from 25.5 percent moisture to 15.5 percent.

A high-speed column dryer with in-dryer cooling might be expected to burn 20 gallons of propane per 100 bushel of corn, and use 10 kilowatt-hour of electricity. Contrast that with dryeration, a system that uses delayed cooling in a bin, which could give you 60 percent higher system throughput while requiring 14.5 gallons of propane and 7 kwh of electricity per 100 bushel of corn dried.

At $2.50/gallon propane and $0.10/kwh electricity, the out-of-pocket energy costs for the two systems per 100 bushels of corn would be $51 and $37, respectively.

Combination drying, using a high-speed dryer for taking the first points of moisture, and in-bin layer drying to get the last points plus cooling, can increase throughput by about 250 percent over the high-speed dryer alone, and with 8 gallons of propane and 90 kwh of electricity spent, combination drying might cost about $29 per 100 bushels, or 57 percent of the cost of high-speed drying with in-dryer cooling.