Recognizing the Threat of Global Water Stress

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Since humans first walked the Earth, finding potable water has been the key to survival. Enough water you live, not enough you perish; period, end of sentence.

Even in these modern times, even with new and breath taking technological advances occurring almost hourly, we still are still fighting (sometimes literally) for water. Major research organizations forecast that by 2030, global water requirement may outstrip sustainable use by 40%, almost 50% of the world’s population will be living under severe water stress, and 1 in 5 developing countries will face water shortages. Countries like Australia are facing a future where a complete depletion of aquifers will make a large portion of their country unlivable.

These numbers are staggering and it is more than just finding enough to drink. As the population explodes and moves into major metropolises, the demand for food and water will become overwhelming. Moreover, it is not just about feeding larger populations; it is also a case of the urbanized developing more complex food needs. Just moving from a grain based to a meat-based diet is incredibly water intensive. In fact, this shift requires 10X as much water per kilogram to produce.
Governments and farmers must come together to create a comprehensive grain growth plan that accounts for among other things, geography, weather, water constraints, and regional economic factors.

One was to help, is through proper control of irrigation. This is so important because a great deal of irrigation water is wasted to evaporation.  For example, if you run an industrial irrigator during a sunny day, you automatically lose about 1/2 of the water to direct evaporation.  This eventually leads to mineralization of the soil making the area unusable.   Not running irrigators at inopportune times and doing something as simple as installing proper soil-moisture sensors could raise agricultural water efficiency by 10-15% by reducing waste in irrigation systems.

The entire idea of global water stress may seem overwhelming and it is clear that there are no quick fixes, but at Dryer Master, we believe that if we start making the effort now, future generations will be able to survive and thrive.

Grains of Different Moistures: Our Sweet Spot!

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This summer’s unpredictable American weather has been front-page news across the globe. 55% of American counties have been declared “disaster areas” on account of the dry spell. The Mississippi River is at its lowest point since the late 1980s. Grain and corn prices are as high as they have been in quite a long time. So now, more than ever, it is critical for farmers to store these costly commodities properly.  When it comes to managing grains of different moistures using only one system, Dryer Master is an industry leader. It’s where we absolutely lead the pack.

Though this summer saw unprecedented drought and heat, there have been summers where the opposite is true. In fact a couple of years back, it was too wet and too cool throughout the Midwest, creating the other sort of problem that our technology – when used correctly – truly shines at. Due to the irregular weather of that particular year, the corn’s moisture was still at 30%. As we have mentioned before, corn needs to be at 15% to be harvestable. When you have a summer with no warmth, corn doesn’t mature properly. When it does mature in August, it needs to dry in the field so it needs heat. It was so bad that a number of facilities would only receive corn and grain shipments on alternate days or a few days a week in order to catch up. At the time, we jumped in and provided many multinational companies with a number of our drying products, including our innovative DM510 Dryer Master.

This summer – in comparison – has mostly been hot and dry, so it is just as important for our friends in the fields to keep a close eye on the moisture of their grain and corn. And just like we were there for the cool and wet summers, you can bet that Dryer Master’s innovative products are out in force this harvest season, keeping North America’s grain and corn supply under close scrutiny.

Aflatoxin Strikes Again This Summer

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This summer’s relentless drought did quite a number on the grain growers of North America. As if that wasn’t bad enough, now it seems as though the entire grain industry, including makers of milk products and crop insurers, are on the lookout for the carcinogen, Aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a fungus that forms in grain both before harvest and during storage. Though rarely deadly, it can cause liver damage in humans and animals that ingest it in sufficient quantities.  The FDA has very strict action levels for the level of Aflatoxin present in food or feed – 20 parts per billion for humans and 300 ppb for animal feed. A breaching of those levels will cause the crop to be discounted, destroyed, or slowly blended with clean grain.

So far this year, trace amounts of Aflatoxin have popped up in a small sampling of the harvest. The fungus creeps up in crops under extreme stresses like severe heat and humidity, which usually isolates it to the Southern US. However, because of this summer’s record drought, it is also showing up in the Midwest. While the extent of the outbreak is yet to be established, it is something to be watched closely.

One thing we do know is that proper monitoring is the key to keeping infected grain out of the food supply. For years, Dryer master has been supplying equipment to optimize the performance of your grain dryer.  Our goal is to bring as much product as close to the desired target moisture as possible.

How Happy Are You?

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As the premier maker and provider of online moisture sensors and moisture controllers for just about any dryer, we work with some of the biggest names in the grain elevator world. Most of the time, our customers have nothing but positive things to say about our products and customer service, but that is never the whole picture. Don’t get us wrong, it’s always nice to hear from satisfied customers.  That being said, it’s the people we haven’t heard from that interest us the most. Even if you don’t use Dryer Master products in your grain elevator, we are always curious about one issue in particular: are you happy with your dryer and/or moisture system? What about your particular systems could be better? How can we make your life easier, more efficient, and productive?

You see, there is no way for us to stay on the cutting edge of innovation unless we know what our current and future customers want, need, and expect. Our DM510 Dryer Master is a perfect example of how we’ve integrated customer feedback into our design process. The DM510’s ability to communicate with Windows-based PCs came about because Dryer Master was in tune with our customers’ 21st century needs. Nothing beats actually hearing directly from those who use products like ours day in and day out.

Therefore, if you rely on dryers and moisture sensors to make a living, we want to hear from you.  Drop us a line at happy@dryermaster.com and tell us everything you like and don’t like about your current system. Don’t worry, we’re not going to try to sell you anything, we just want to check the pulse of our industry!

The Future of Farming

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Depending on whom you ask, modern farming began in present-day Turkey and the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. For about 9,850 of those years, farming was a backbreaking, never-ending cycle of plant, tend, harvest, and repeat.  Things got a little easier (a relative term) starting in the mid 19th century with the help of the mechanization that grew out of the Industrial Revolution. Even with the advent of modern machinery, farming was still a sun-up to sundown endeavor. Despite the past ten centuries of relative stasis, it seems as if farming is going through one of its biggest changes. As younger people are taking over family farms, they want to marry the old with the startlingly new. They want to turn farming into a technology-based 9-5 occupation. This might not seem like a big deal to most people who rely 24-7 on their smart phones, computers, and tablets. However, the idea of monitoring crops, soil PHs, and silos remotely completely changes the art of farming. The time-savings alone change what it means to be a farmer. Tasks that might have taken 4 or 5 hours can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes.  It is exciting because it means that many young people, who might otherwise be scared away by the overwhelming demands of farming, will now see it as a viable future.

At Dryer Master, we already feature on-line moisture sensors that allow for remote usage. However, that is just the beginning. Currently we are working hard to make all of our dryers and sensors controllable via the internet. In order to keep up with demands of an exploding world population, farmers need to become one with modern technology. It is an exciting time, and we can’t wait to share with you as our on-line footprint grows bigger and stronger.

Northeast China Plain and Dryer Master

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Most of our readers have heard about or maybe even live in North America’s “Breadbasket” region. This fertile area covers a wide swath of both the United States and Canada. From North Texas and Oklahoma, through Iowa and Kansas, running all the way up to Northern Ontario and Southern Saskatchewan, the “breadbasket” has some of the world’s most amazing farmland.  The U.S. alone is projected to have a total grain output of 323 million metric tons for 2011-12."Breadbasket" However, a lot of people in the west aren’t aware of the ever-increasing impact of another grain-growing superstar, the Northeast China Plain. This massive plain covers an area of about 135,000 square miles (that’s about the size of Montana) and has an elevation of lower than 1000 feet above sea level.  This extremely fertile land will contribute heavily to China’s projected 2011-12 grain production of almost 198 metric tons.  Of course, when you have to feed almost 20% of the world’s population (1.3 billion people) it helps to have your own breadbasket.

No matter where grain is produced, Dryer Master is there to make sure it can be stored and monitored correctly.  While we have an impressive presence in our own region, we also play a giant role in China. We have a significant sales force in China, based in cities like Harbin, the heart and key political and economic hub of the Northeast China Plain.  Harbin has some of the most nutrient rich soil in all of China, if not the world, so Dryer Master is there to make sure that nothing grown goes to waste and is monitored with a wide variety of our amazing products, including our industry leading DM510 control system.

If you want to learn more about our services and our involvement in the dynamic Northeast China Plain region you can always call us or send us an inquiry via email.

On-Line Testing

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Everything is on-line these days. Information and technology follows you 24-7. Often it can be annoying and somewhat overwhelming, but not when it comes to monitoring the moisture of your stored grains, pet food, RTE cereals, and other moisture sensitive products.

At Dryer Master, we never get tired of talking about the need to constantly check the total bulk moisture, humidity, and temperature of your products. On-line Moisture SensorsWe have mentioned before that many people around the world incorrectly believe that testing their products occasionally is good enough. Of course, in many cases they simply do not have sufficient time and resources or access to the technology to test in any other way. Luckily, there is an accurate and reliable way to measure your moisture continuously from just about anywhere.  Dryer Master’s On-line Moisture Sensors are easy to install, take little to no maintenance, and when combined with a Dryer Master Controller or display or integrated into top-notch PLC based automation application they are accurate to ±0.2%M.

Our sensors are in use all across the world in thousands of locations. They are designed for operation in very environmentally unfriendly situations, from extreme cold to very warm temperatures.  There are explosion proof versions, which is quite important for oil seed facilities doing solvent extraction or other chemical plants.  If you want to learn more about our On-Line sensors, drop us a line or you can visit our website to find a dealer, agent, or distributor near you.

Do it today, because there is no reason to go another season losing your stored products to inconsistent moisture monitoring.