Drying operations

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Dryeration

Originally developed for use with maize, dryeration is a combination of heated air drying and aeration cooling. In this process a tempering period is employed between a high temperature drying phase and a cooling phase. Whereas less than 1% moisture is removed if cooling is carried out immediately after drying, as much as 2% moisture can be removed if the grain is cooled slowly after tempering. Damage to the grain is reduced and drying efficiency is improved through better utilization of the residual heat in the grain for moisture removal during cooling. Higher air temperatures can be used in the drying phase since the grain is not dried to such a low moisture content.

 

Two-Stage Drying

Two-stage or combination drying can be used to relieve pressure on drying facilities during peak periods. For example, paddy at moisture contents of less than 18% can be stored for up to 20 days without significant losses either in quantity or quality. In two-stage drying, grain is dried to an intermediate moisture content, 20% moisture for maize, 18% moisture for paddy, as soon as possible using any of the methods described above and then dried instore to the desired final moisture content over several days or weeks with intermittent use of ambient air or air heated by 3-5C. Research with paddy in the Philippines (Tumambing & Bulaong 1986; Adamczak et al. 1986) has shown that, in addition to increasing throughput of the first stage dryers, there were substantial overall energy savings and no loss of quality compared to drying to 14% moisture in the conventional manner.

 

Pre-drying Aeration

Work in the Philippines has shown that wet paddy can be maintained in reasonable condition for 3-7 days when aerated with ambient air (Raspusas et al. 1978; de Castro et al. 1980). By aerating stacks of sacked paddy at a rate of 0.5 m3/s per tonne for eight hours a day, quality could be maintained for nine days during the dry season and two days during the wet season. Aerating in bulk with similar airflows maintained quality for 14 days and three days respectively (Raspusas et al. 1978). The length of time that paddy can remain in aerated storage without deterioration is dependent on the moisture content of the grain and ambient air conditions.

 

Drying of Parboiled Paddy

After parboiling, paddy contains about 35% moisture. During the parboiling process the starch is gelatinized which confers quite different drying properties to that of field paddy. It has been shown (Bhattacharya & Indudhara Swamy 1967) that in the drying of parboiled paddy, significant damage (ie kernel cracking) does not occur until the moisture content falls to 16%, regardless of the drying method or the rate of drying,. Cracking then occurs some time after the grain has cooled. The recommended drying procedure is to dry the parboiled paddy to 16-18% moisture as fast as facilities permit, temper it for four hours if warm or eight hours if cooled, and then dry in a second operation to 14% moisture. Air temperatures of 100-120C can be used for parboiled paddy in continuous-flow dryers.

 

Drying of Seed Grain

If grain is destined for use as seed then it must be dried in a manner that preserves the viability of the seed. Seed embryos are killed by temperatures greater than 40-42C and therefore low temperature drying regimes must be used. Seed grain may be dried in any type of dryer provided that it is operated at a low temperature and preferably with greater air flowrates than generally used. It is essential that batches of grain of different varieties are not mixed in any way and therefore the dryers and associated equipment used must be designed for easy cleaning. In this respect simple flat-bed dryers are more suitable than continuous-flow dryers.

Teter (1987) noted that seed paddy can be sun dried at depths of up to 30 mm but that the final stages of drying to 12% moisture should be conducted in the shade to avoid overheating and kernel cracking. Flat-bed dryers can be used with bed depths of up to 0.3 m, air temperatures not exceeding 40C, and airflows of 1.3-1.7 m3/s per tonne of grain.

Cross-mixing between batches of different varieties can be avoided by drying in sacks in a flat-bed dryer although care must be taken in packing the loaded sacks in the dryer to ensure reasonably even distribution of airflow. Specialised tunnel dryers in which sacks or portable bins are individually placed over openings in the top of the tunnel have been developed (Teter 1987).


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