The reasons why people consider Integris systems are as different and varied as the grain operations themselves, but all are linked by a common thread . . . the need for better information on the condition of their grain.
“We had a system that didn’t serve our needs and wasn’t real user-friendly so we installed the Integris system when we built a new 200,000 bushel bin in 2006 and two more 200,000 bushel bins since then,” says Bob Reynolds, general manager, Buckingham Cooperative, Buckingham, IA. “We thought if we knew exactly what shape our grain was in we could be more efficient with our fan run times.
“Each year is different but last fall for we cut our run time by one-third. I can’t tell you how much that is exactly, but it’s enough to make a difference,” Reynolds notes. “Like anything its not 100% perfect, but it’s much better than what we had and it’s another tool at our disposal to help maintain grain quality.
“If we aren’t successful in keeping corn in condition, we’d have to find another market for it and the last thing we need is to limit my marketing options,” he adds.
For Dan Imler, grain superintendant at Farmer’s Cooperative in Yale, IA, the system represents a new level of control he never had before when conditioning his grain.
“I was looking for better information out of a monitoring system and we experienced a great deal of variability in the data we were working with and maintaining quality was quite a challenge,” Imler recalls. “The OPIsystem seemed to make sense to me and with the programmability, the steady updates and the graph systems which tell me exactly what’s happening inside that bin, I was and still am, very impressed with the system.”
Imler predicts that by the time his bins are empty he will have accumulated about 340 hours of run time — or half his previous run time — for his aeration systems in his 105-foot diameter, 700,000 bushel bin.
“I not only save labor and energy but, with each cable sending a readout every two hours, any hot spots that develop are dealt with almost instantly and that grain stays in great condition, and that’s what I really like about this system,” says Imler.
On the right track
While both Reynolds and Imler admit that visual inspections and smell tests of their stored grain will remain a part of their routine grain maintenance regimen, but having a new tool that feed back such volumes of date to the manager can only be a good thing.
Reynolds thinks the proof will be in the pudding when he sits down to evaluate the system’s performance after this year’s crop is out of the bins.
“Last year’s growing season resulted in higher moisture and lighter test weight corn being delivered to the elevator for drying and storage. If the Integris system can help keep this cornin condition, that will be impressive,” he says.
So has Integris created a “new category” in grain storage? That remains to be seen. But what they have succeeded in doing is enabling the grain manager to make decisions based on information that’s delivered accurately, completely and as close to real-time as possible.
If Integris delivers on its promise to service and support its system at a level of performance as high as its systems, that will give them a big leap closer to their goal.