Case Study: Thixendale Farm

When Peter and Hilary Burton decided to build their own grain drying and storage plant for their crops instead of using contractors, they called upon the expertise of BDC Systems.  A rotation of potatoes, peas, 1st and 2nd wheats, for feed and biscuit, winter and spring barley for feed and malting are grown on the 2000 acre arable farm at Thixendale on the Yorkshire Wolds.

The system was designed by BDC Systems Ltd of Monxton, near Andover in Hampshire and was built by a group of specialist tradesmen under the control and guidance of grain drying and storage contractors, Yorkshire Storage Systems Ltd of Dalton on Tees, Darlington, Co. Durham.

A storage capacity of 6,000 tonnes with a drying capacity of 50 tonnes/hour was specified in order to handle the rate of intake from the combine harvesters of their local contractor.  The building has been erected on a greenfield site adjacent to the farm, and to make it blend in as much as possible with the environment, a coloured wall and roof sheeting as well as reclaimed brick external walls have been included.  The result is a building which is hardly noticeable from the nearby road and suits the locality which is an area of high landscape value.

Maximum flexibility has been built into the design of the system to enable all options of intake: with or without drying, with or without cleaning and/or with or without drying.  It was also important to have the ability to dry twice with ease, as high intake moisture contents were not uncommon and were certainly experienced during the difficult harvest of 2008.  Flexibility of storage division was also an important requirement.

Peter also wanted to move away from the traditional hoppered wet bin storage, usually associated with high capacity drying systems, in favour of a wet intake storage building housing a long mechanical intake conveyor over which large volumes of wet grain could be piled, in order to feed the drier. This created a much simpler intake and drier feed system within a building which had many other storage uses after harvest.

The design achieves all the flexibility required and includes a Svegma mixed flow continuous drier with a capacity of 51 tonnes/hr at 5% extraction on feed grain. Skandia commercial range elevators and conveyors move the grain around the plant and were chosen because they include substantial material thickness, outstanding build quality and run at comparatively slow speeds. This gives gentle handling and long machine life.

An Aagaard pre cleaner is included before the drier and has performed excellently in removing light impurities to improve drier efficiency.  A Zanin rotary drum cleaner is used where necessary after the drier to give a really good finished sample.

After drying, the grain is stored in three separate but linked storage buildings, each with a capacity of around 2,000 tonnes, plus a further 1,000 tonnes storage in an existing building via a link conveyor from the new complex. This new storage enables complete maximum storage capacity to be achieved by filling from overhead conveyors without the need to use a tractor and pusher.

To ensure safe long term storage, the new stores have level floor ventilation ducts linked to a total of 18 low volume ventilation fans. These are in turn connected to a computerised control system to operate the fans automatically using information gathered from a number of sensing probes at three levels within the grain, throughout the stores.

The system has now successfully handled three harvests, including the very difficult 2008 one, where the 14.0m long mechanical intake system really came into its own. Double drying was easily achieved with all pre dried and once dried grain stored within the wet storage building, before being conveyed to final storage when completely dry.

Peter has been delighted with the system, and has no regrets in making the extra investment. He says that the extra cost, for example of having the building frame galvanised, was well worth it as it now has zero maintenance and will last indefinitely. He feels that he now has a state of the art system which can handle any situation in the most difficult conditions and with maximum flexibility allowing him to meet the highest standards required now and for the foreseeable future.

For more information contact BDC Systems Ltd, Prospect Farm, Broad Road,

Monxton, Andover, Hampshire, SP1 1 7DA. Tel: +44 (0) 1264 710900, Fax: +44 (0) 1264 710987. Email:[email protected] website:

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