Many seed- and grain-processing plants recently built in Western Canada, including pea fractionation facilities, use equipment from Saskatoon-based Can-Seed Equipment.
Several of the company’s offerings wouldn’t suit the grain-handling needs of the typical prairie grain farm. However, some of the equipment can fill important roles on grain farms.
For instance, Forsberg’s natural frequency conveyors offer extremely gentle seed handling that may interest growers who deal with sensitive crops.
It has a transient, oscillating suspension design combined with an exciter drive that provides a gentle crop conveyance.
“Most often, we would put this under a hopper bottom bin in a seed site. Or an in-feed coming into a plant,” said Chance Barkley of Can-Seed Equipment.
“What it does is basically it shakes back and forth like north-south about half an inch, and it conveys the product inside the tray on the top all the way down to its end-destination point.”
The conveyer can also serve a secondary purpose as a rough cleaner. A mesh screen can be added to the top of the conveyer and the grain will fall through the screen and carry on to the discharge point while the straw or rubble will flow off the top of the deck.
“It’s a zero breakage device. It’s used a lot in the bean industry in the States. It’s by far the most gentle way of conveying product you can possibly do,” Barkley said.
He said it could be used for any of the major commodity crops grown in Canada, but it wouldn’t have the best fit moving feed or fertilizer.
The conveyer makes sense growers for when they load up their trucks to take their products to market rather than when they are filling their bins during harvest, because it can’t keep up to big augers or conveyors.
The capacity of the natural frequency conveyors varies from 200 bushels to about 2,000 bushels-per hour, Barkley said.
The cost of the conveyer ranges from $600 to $1,000 per foot, depending on the design.
“They are all customized. It’s a standardized design within reason for each of the capacity ranges, but the machine needs to be customized for each site based on how long it needs to be, and how fast it needs to go,” Barkley said.
Forsberg’s conveyors are manufactured from carbon steel or stainless steel.
Producers may also find farm uses for Can-Seed’s Damas Pulco Aspirator, which enables growers to clean grain, yet is more affordable and has a higher capacity than natural frequency conveyors.
“This is suitable for higher end processors, small- to medium-size commodity shippers, but also independent farmers,” Barkley said.
He said about 25 percent of the Damas Pulco aspirators are sold to farmers, while the rest find their way to seed processors.
Processors use the aspirator on grain entering the plant to pre-clean and separate all forms of granular material with the use of its air system.
Product feeds into the aspirator and spreads out as it drops down onto an inverted cone inside.
“It gets distributed in a circle 360 degrees by a little plate that’s rotating, and then air is forced up through the bottom of the unit. All the heavy product drops through the bottom, that’s typically the good grain, and all your chaff and your pods and your light dockage comes out the top,” Barkley said.
Operators can collect the chaff, or just let it blow out onto the ground.
He said it can be used with most crops but is most commonly used for cereals and peas in Western Canada.
The Pulco is quiet and requires little power to operate.
It costs between $25,000 and $60,000, and has a capacity of 2,500 to 12,000 bushels per hour.
Barkley said growers who also have cattle make use of the screenings for feed, while producers without cattle can market the screenings to a neighbour who does.
An upside of using the Pulco while filling bins during harvest is the amount of bin space it frees up by removing dockage, which can range from about seven percent to about 14 percent, Barkley said.
“A farmer can save on bin space on the front end, but on the back end when you go to ship as well, having the option to clean or not clean depending on what the terminal or commodity broker is willing to pay for that material.”
The Pulco aspirator can also help reduce vomitoxin levels in cereals.
“A lot of the microtoxin is located on the surface of the cereal commodity and getting that airflow over the top of it will release a lot of that light particle vomitoxin on the surface, any type of aspiration will in general, but it will reduce those numbers for sure,” Barkley said.
If growers want to reduce vomitoxin in their cereals even more, they can look to Sigma Planet drum separator.
“That one is a much more aggressive version of the Pulco,” he said.
The Pulco is run in tandem with the drum separator and attaches to the side of it.
“Inside of the drum separator there is actually three cylinders inside of it and they are spinning. The interior of that unit is also spinning in the opposite direction,” Barkley said.
“The grain is being fed into the top and it’s using centrifugal force to force the grain out through the screens while it’s aspirating it. So it’s both roughing up the husk or hull and it’s also aspirating it.”
The centrifugal force also helps clean out humid and oleaginous seeds.
The main use of the Planet drum separator is pre-cleaning, improving grades of malt barley and cleaning of cereals for commercial markets. However it can also clean cereal seed under certain circumstances.
Barkley said it’s widely used in Europe and his company is trying to introduce it to the Canadian market.
“It’s suitable for cereals, it’s not suitable for any other crops. It’s quite an aggressive process. The cereals can stand up to it but you wouldn’t want to use this on a pulse crop.”
He said the Sigma Planet drum separator has a capacity of 1,500 to 9,000 bushels per hour depending on the model.