Seamlessly connect to your grain bins to help manage grain quality and time
It’s been a tough growing season and growers have been working hard for every bushel this year. It’s important to not let those efforts go to waste, part of that means getting the most out of their operation..
When grain is shipped, growers want to make sure they know how much is in their bins and that it will maintain its quality – key to selling at the best rate. An inventory management system simplifies the critical, careful monitoring needed to do the job.
“The TELUS Farm Bin Management system ties to our strategy of bringing a connected farmyard to growers,” says Jeff Poppel, senior product manager at TELUS. “We are in the process of streamlining all farmyard storage systems so that inventory can be managed through one cloud-based platform.”
Bin monitoring has traditionally been a manual task. Growers would walk from bin to bin to see how each one was performing. . Generally, those bins have temperature and moisture monitoring equipment set up to keep a close eye on grain quality but they haven’t been connected to track everything with a wireless solution..
“Most grain bins are outfitted with cables to monitor for moisture and temperature, but as there has been a movement to bigger on-farm storage, there hasn’t been a way to centralize that information,” says Poppel. “There’s a lot of value in those big bins and the plug-and-play information that we offer will help growers make sure they are keeping a close eye in a simplified manner.”
Decisive Farming by TELUS Agriculture helps Canadian growers connect their farmyard assets into one platform on their hand-held device. Last season they launched their fuel monitoring system, TELUS Farm Fuel Management, and this fall they are expanding the software to grain bins. With the TELUS Farm Bin Management system, growers can set alerts when temperature or moisture readings exceed a predetermined level to gain up-to-date insights into how their commodities are performing for greater efficiency and security.
Growers can access both real-time and historical reporting and will be able to customize their information for decreased risk of loss and spoilage.
To take advantage of the Farm Bin Management system, growers need to have existing digital cables. These cables are generally used with a manual handheld reader for bin monitoring. Those can now be connected to a Smart Dock which will send information to the cloud-based infrastructure where it can be viewed using the TELUS Inventory Management software from anywhere with an internet connection.
Keeping close watch over an important asset
“This system offers a new opportunity for growers to expand their digital monitoring in their farmyard,” says Curtis Kolibab, CEO North Star Systems Inc., who partnered with Decisive Farming to develop the Smart Dock and monitoring software.
“Grain is one of the biggest assets on their farm and they will want to mitigate against any spoilage or loss. This helps them to do so.”
Grain generally goes into the bins at a less-than-ideal temperature and bins typically run some type of aeration system to cool the grain and keep moisture levels at market-specified levels. This has to be monitored regularly as conditions change and growers need to know when they should rotate the grain, turn on a fan or whatever other action their bin needs to maintain product quality.
Kolibab says that as farms have grown, so has the amount of grain stored on site. On the land-locked Prairies, deciding how and when to transport grain to customers is an important concern so managing inventory becomes critical.
“It can be a real problem for growers if they see that their grain is heating or has too much moisture and they don’t take measures to mitigate that right away,” Kolibab says. “The default setting in our system is to update results every hour, but the user can change the settings to update it as much as they feel necessary.”
Once connected to existing cables, the Smart Dock is attached to the outside of the bin away from any debris. Developed with Prairie winters in mind, it is charged by solar power with two types of battery backup.
Kolibab says the digitalization of agribusiness is part of the evolution of the high-stakes business of farming. Tools such as the Farm Bin Management system help growers confirm what’s available to sell, preserve grain quality and help to guard against spoilage. The aim is to make the process easier and potentially add more dollars to a grower’s bottom line.
“This system allows growers to bring their grain assets into the app where they can view it on their phone,” Poppel says. “This gives additional peace of mind, saves time and makes life more efficient, while at the same time preserving the quality of a product a grower has worked hard to produce. It’s a smart business decision.”
More details on the TELUS Bin Fuel management solution are available at decisivefarming.com/bin-management/. Growers can also contact a Decisive Farming team member to help determine how these tools can best match their operations.