BDC Systems, working closely with d.m.i. Mechnical Engineers – which is now part of McArthur Agriculture – have helped Alistair Robertson, who farms a large arable unit which includes winter wheat, oil seed rape and winter barley at Bonnington Mains Farms, to finish last year's harvest in record time.

"Our drier was nearing the end of its life, unable to cope with an increase in capacity and was part of an outdated system," explains Mr Robertson.

"We had to handle grain several times before it went into store or on to the lorry to be sold. We were tipping wet grain at other sites, then bringing it to the drier and then taking it from the drier to other sheds. All of which was extremely time consuming and an expensive use of labour."

Mr Robertson approached BDC Systems, John Wilson and d.m.i.'s George Brown to design and develop a new grain processing plant, which Mr Robertson calls "bang-on".

"BDC and d.m.i. have delivered a new processing plant that 'bang-on' delivers what we needed and it was up and running for harvest 2021," he says.

Once designs were approved the new plant was constructed by Thorburn Group directed by Alistair Thorburn, with required electrics handled by John Noble of Bonnyrigg, both trusted members of the team involved in constructing the new plant.

Grain now enters the plant via a 14m Skandia I-line 60tph trench intake, where it is then transferred to an Aagaard Aspirator pre-cleaner before moving to a Zanin rotary cleaning. Trash and screenings are transferred to a dust house.

After being cleaned, the grain is transported to and from a Svegma continuous flow drier which is fitted with a turbo cleans dust extraction system, via three Skandia I-Line belt and bucket elevators, and five Skandia I-Line chain and flight conveyors.

The plant has been designed so that there are several options as to how the grain is handled, for example the grain can bypass the rotary cleaner and go straight to the drier, or go directly from the pre-cleaner to the store.

Owing to the wet harvest conditions in Scotland, Mr Robertson has installed BDC Systems' Moisture Monitoring System (MMS) to ensure the moisture content of grain as it goes into and out of the Svegma drier is continuously monitored. The MMS sits on the wet grain intake elevator where a grain sample is taken before it enters the drier, and another is taken as the grain exits the drier.

The entire plant is controlled by a BDC Systems PLC control panel, the plant can be controlled remotely via a smartphone or tablet so nobody needs to be at the plant continuously. The MMS can be pre-configured to send text or email alerts in the case that the moisture content falls above or below predefined maximum and minimum levels, so the necessary adjustments can be made remotely and restore it to required levels.

Being able to adjust grain drier settings remotely means it is optimised to maintain the correct moisture content and reduces rising energy costs.

"Despite last year being a bit of a learning curve around the new plant, harvest was easier, quicker, more productive and efficient, handling increased capacity we shaved one week off the time it would previously have taken us," comments Mr Robertson. "Last harvest was fairly dry but I can see how the new plant will be of huge benefit to us when the weather is wet."

For more information on BDC Systems visit their website, HERE.

For more information on d.m.i. Mechanical Engineers visit their website, HERE.

Image credit: BDC Systems

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