Case Study: BDC Supports Long Term Success Of Farmer Ben Smith

It has been nearly 25 years since farmer Ben Smith, based at Wantage, first took delivery of a 23tph Svegma drier. At the time he was farming approximately 1000 acres arable and 500 acres of rough grazing and grass. By 1999 a neighbouring 1000 acre farm was purchased and then a further 500 acres, so the original drier was drying produce from some 2500 acres. Further acquisitions have meant that today Ben is farming around 4500 acres, used to grow combinable crops – oilseed rape, winter wheat and beans. It is therefore no surprise that he has now made considerable new investments in new Svegma grain driers as well as other handling systems through long term supplier BDC Systems and dealer BK Grain Handling engineers who designed the proposed layout of the systems and obtained the necessary planning permission on his behalf.

With the significant expansion of his business, for the last four years or so Ben had been trying at times to dry over 10,000 tonnes a year of wheat and over 2000 tonnes of rape with the original Svegma 23 tph drier. Not surprisingly it struggled to cope with that capacity and also the handling equipment backing it up was inadequate and old.

Ben was also now running three articulated lorries to deliver his produce through the winter and several times other farmers had also asked him to dry their produce, but the lorries were too big for the farm’s intake pit. There was a similar issue during the harvest period.

To address the situation, a 50 tonne capacity pit was built and if Ben takes on any contract drying, he can also pick it up with his lorries and tip it into the new pit. A new combine harvester was also acquired. Everything is now of sufficient capacity to cope with the required tonnage.

Following recommendation from BK Grain, Ben has also invested in not only new Svegma driers, but also Skandia handling equipment and a pre-cleaner.

He had invested in the original Svegma drier because of its simplicity of operation and use as well as being easy to clean. Over the years barley, wheat, beans, peas, rape and linseed have all been successfully dried by a highly reliable Svegma drier that has been virtually trouble-free. It was therefore an easy decision to replace it with two new latest generation Svegma driers when the time came to increase capacity.

BK Grain convinced Ben about the quality and reliability of the Skandia and Aagaard equipment. The new intake pit now has a 150tph Skandia intake conveyor and the installation also includes Skandia elevators and chain and flight conveyors. The grain is then transferred into a holding hopper via a new 150tph Aagaard pre cleaner. From here, the grain is fed into the two 34tph Svegma driers.

“I have been really pleased with the quality and the running of the new Skandia equipment. It all went together with very few problems and one thing I did like was how slow the chain runs, and together with the plastic bottom tray, it runs very quietly,” says Ben.

“It has been really good to see how well the Skandia equipment and the Svegma driers have been integrated with the hopper bottoms of the driers matching the drag chain. This is much better than cutting and carving to make it fit. Another good feature is the fitting of the inverters to be able to slow down the drag chains even more. Also fitting inverters on the drier fans stop the driers from lifting off light products. This seems to work very well.”

The Aagaard is the only machine of its kind available to offer a throughput of up to 150 tph and is therefore matched with the speed of the Skandia intake feed conveyor for ensure maximum efficiency. It operates with high efficiency by spreading the grain around the circumference of its internal cone, giving a very thin curtain of grain and using its powerful fan to ensure that much more unwanted residue is successfully removed.
Ben concludes: “I had been thinking and talking about having a system like this for years and am very pleased with the quality of the results thanks to BK Grain and BDC Systems.”

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