Over the last decade, grain drying has become more common on farms across the Prairies, but especially so in Alberta. It has been particularly necessary to maintain optimal quality in wet years such as 2018. That year, farmers spent an estimated $35 to $45 million on grain drying. However, little data has been compiled on efficiency in grain drying practices, until now.
At first glance, the farmer’s role in helping Canada reach its ambitious goal of net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 appears simple: lower emissions and adopt technology and alternative management practices that boost soil carbon sequestration. Many believe addressing the carbon equation offers economic advantages, too. Farmers who cut back on inputs subject to the carbon tax save money, and those who adopt so-called regenerative practices may participate in the growing carbon economy by collecting and selling carbon credits. While this sounds straightforward, it is anything but.
A three-year Team Alberta study on grain conditioning has just produced its second-year results. The research project will assess the efficiency of various grain drying systems used by a selection of Alberta farmers. Initially inspired by the potential impact of federal carbon taxation, it will also analyze how various methods and fuel types can diminish the bite it takes from the farm bottom line.
The first-year findings of Team Alberta’s three-year grain drying and conditioning study are in. Early results indicate energy efficiency depends on the setup and type of conditioning resources used, though final recommendations will not be made until the study is complete.