Improving End Production with Mechanised Post-Harvest Grain Drying

Article by: Julie Havercroft

With the recent revival of the Zimbabwean agricultural industry, foreign companies and their local business partners are jostling for market space in response to growing demand for their various products. Farmers, in turn, are looking for ways to increase margins and streamline their operations.

Within the manufacturing sector that supplies specialised structures, machinery and equipment, Agristructures are forging ahead with providing world class technology to their Zimbabwean farming clients. I chatted to them at the Agricultural Dealers and Manufacturers Association (ADMA) Show. They say that while manufacturing in Zimbabwe is slowly reviving thanks to the resurgence of agriculture, some equipment is not produced locally and client demands still need to be met. They are seeking to meet these by importing specialised equipment. The one area they are targeting, is the post-harvest treatment of drying grains to prevent spoilage during storage.

One such example of this is Nathan Douglas, a Lions Den maize, wheat and soya producer, who had an on-farm grain dryer installed by Agristructures. It was imported and then locally assembled. The dryer can process up to 27 tonnes per hour and dries grain to 4 – 5%. It is more than able to meet the needs of this large scale commercial farmer (400ha maize, seed maize 250ha, soya beans 400ha, seed soya beans150ha) and its services are also contracted out to neighbouring farmers.

“On a large hectarage, it’s vital to dry to avoid theft and loss due to elements like termites, wind etc, and to also get the crop delivered for early payment and to get wheat in on time,” Douglas says.

Because this farmer never used to machine dry his crops, the potential benefits of this investment were carefully considered and now, this long-term investment is paying for itself by cutting out time and service charges that would be incurred by using a drying service.  He says mechanisation has already increased the farm’s overall efficiency and productivity.

Douglas is extremely happy with the machine as it is very efficient and performing about 30% over and above the manufacturer’s claims. He says it is easy to run, gives a great end product and that the backup services are the best he could ask for.

His suppliers, Agristructures and their UK based partners, Perry, combine 70 years of agricultural solutions to the Zimbabwean agricultural sector to cater for grain drying, handling or storage needs as well as feed and flour milling and biomass and grass drying.

Agristructures have probably built every type of agricultural building possible locally from pig farrowing houses and cattle sorting pens through to fertiliser factories and large Greenfield tobacco tunnels incorporating workshops, offices, grading sheds various storage sheds. “We understand that cost is important, and everyone’s requirements differ. All of our farm sheds are closely designed with the customer and are built so that they can be easily extended to handle growth should this be a requirement in the future”.

Perry of Oakley are based in the UK, but exporters globally. They provide machinery to a wide variety of industries including; farms, commercial grain stores, waste and aggregate industries, feed and pet food, biomass industries and also specialise in the manufacture of chain & flight conveyors, aspirator pre-cleaners, belt & bucket elevators, belt conveyors, augers & screw conveyors along with their range of grain driers & belt driers. Perry can also source products such as rotary cleaners, colour sorters, de-stoning equipment and full feed mill/flaking mill equipment.

Perry equipment in Zimbabwe is sold through Agristructures in Harare. All Perry dryers sold are fully supported by a spares package held locally which covers most of the ‘hard to replace’ parts.  Agristructures stocks a range of Perry 60 tph handling equipment including aspirator cleaners, elevators, augers and chain and flight conveyors. These will be available EX stock in Zimbabwe in September 2018. Both Agristructures and Perry staff are available to provide design advice and specify the correct type of equipment for your project.

To find out more contact:

Perry of Oakley Ltd

+44 (0)1404 890300 

Agristructures +263 -712 221 207;

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