Harvest 2023 has been the most challenging harvest since 2012, and for many growers, even longer ago than that. The unseasonal hot and dry weather in May and June has reversed to a cold and wet summer, forcing farmers to harvest grain at moisture levels above that required for it to be sold.
Grain drying is an inevitable consequence of harvesting in a wet summer, with many growers using on-farm facilities to condition grain to a point where it can be either safely stored in a shed or bin or sold to a home or store.
High fuel prices combined with extreme weather events are impacting the ability of farmers to produce grain to the specifications required by the marketplace. The cost of drying has proven prohibitive, meaning some grain has not been cut until the sun has dried it down to moisture level which can go straight into storage or be sold. The impact of this can be detrimental to grain quality, which has a knock on effect along the supply chain.
On-farm drying systems will largely differ between farm businesses but will usually fall into one of the following categories: