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Efficient harvesting with Bühler

14 May 20206 min reading

With a total of eleven silos, a capacity of 10,000 tons and modern machinery, the Pfraundorf grain plant is state-of-the-art and can cope with steadily increasing utilization. "During the plant design, Bühler Group were offered Bühler machines, which have been tried and tested worldwide. Bühler chose the classic aspirator and the grain cleaning machines for the intake area. A grain air pre-cleaner provides a second additional line. Vertical conveyors and horizontal conveyors meet the current state-of-the-art. And then of course there is also an energy-efficient dryer," says Hans-Peter Konrad, Area Sales Manager at Bühler.

Perfect timing is crucial during harvest season, a fact that the Bühler Group has understand instantly. Farmers need to make optimal use of dry weather in order to get the ripe grain in from the field at the right time. Norbert Graff, in Bavarian Oberpfalz, knows this well. His farm has been managed by his family over multiple generations and is located just a few kilometers from the Pfraundorf agricultural site, Germany. The site was established in close collaboration with Bühler in 2017.

Since he is a cooperative member, this is where he brings his harvest - up to 300 tons a year. And he is not alone. There are almost 600 other farmers in the region who also store their grain at the Pfraundorf site.

In fact, more than 2.9 million people in the Free State of Bavaria are members of more than 1,200 cooperative enterprises. The commodities business plays an important role for Raiffeisen: at more than 148 locations, about 1 million tons of grain are traded annually, which corresponds to a quarter of the grain harvest marketed in Bavaria.

WAITING TIME IS A THING OF THE PAST During the long harvest days, Norbert Graf and his colleagues drive their tractor trailers and trucks to the Raiffeisen plant to deliver their grain, be it wheat, barley or rapeseed. With the combine harvesters working nonstop in the fields during the summer months, farmers are always feeling the pressure of time.

Especially at the old location in the center of Kallmünz, with an hourly capacity of maximum 60 tons, its intake capacity was much too low for peak harvest times. Waiting times of multiple hours happened frequently. But when the new plant was commissioned in 2017, no one needed to wait any longer.

"The transition time has improved for us so that we hardly have to wait at all any more. Arrival is also better as our route is now a very short 3 kilometers. It’s possible to deliver with one vehicle and turn around and go right back onto the field to the combine harvester," says Norbert Graff. "We used to have to load the grain on a trailer after harvesting and drive distances up to 15 km. With the new storage building nearby, that has changed. Two runs of 8 to 15 tons are sufficient."

Gottfried Glaab, the head manager of commodities for the agricultural site, also confirms this. "The closer the storage building is to home, the easier it is. Farmers pay attention to short distances. "The high capacity is only one reason why the new plant is significantly more effective than its predecessor. The new, high-capacity machines, and especially the automation, also play a central role.

HIGH LEVEL OF AUTOMATION AT THE AGRICULTURAL SITE The scales for loading and unloading the trailers are located directly behind the entrance of the large-area facility. Samples are taken automatically from each delivery and tested for moisture and protein content in the laboratory within minutes. This enables the silo master to evaluate the data within a very short time and thus determine the ideal storage location. And, it also helps to ensure rapid receiving of the product. But that is not enough. In order to also prevent the grainfrom losing quality during storage, the temperature of the silo is regularly measured. This allows areas that are heating up to be detected immediately and counter-measures to be taken.

PROVEN EXPERTISE AND PROJECT CONSTELLATION Raiffeisenbank Hemau-Kallmünz undertook an investment in order to optimize and modernize its commodities business. This has been an investment in the future: "We are a large, recognized partner for the agricultural business, and the farmers also generate income by marketing their grain through us."

With a total of eleven silos, a capacity of 10,000 tons and modern machinery, the grain plant is state-of-the-art and can cope with steadily increasing utilization. "During the plant design, Bühler Group were offered Bühler machines, which have been tried and tested worldwide. Bühler chose the classic aspirator and the grain cleaning machines for the intake area. A grain air pre-cleaner provides a second additional line. Vertical conveyors and horizontal conveyors meet the current state-of-the-art. And then of course there is also an energy-efficient dryer," says Hans-Peter Konrad, Area Sales Manager at Bühler.

The planning work for the new agricultural site Pfraundorf was correspondingly extensive. The choice fell on Bühler, which operates a center of competence in Beilngries, just a half hour away by car.

“It was important for us to have a company that could handle the entire project from beginning to end. Bühler has already been a partner for us in previous buildings and has always assisted us, in service as well, and was our first point of contact.” (Gottfried Glaab, the head manager of commodities for the agricultural site.)

Adds Hans-Peter Konrad, Area Sales Manager, "Bühler was a partner of Raiffeisenbank in this situation. They offered a complete solution here, taking over the entire engineering and working with competent partners in steel construction and round silos."

SERVICE AVAILABILITY AS AN IMPORTANT FEATURE The reliable operation of the plant is very important, especially at harvest time, for the agricultural site. Bühler’s regular servicing and the plant automation ensure that this happens. In the event of a problem, Bühler can be there within minutes because it is located so close by. Gottfried Glaab praises this strong partnership.

“Bühler is quickly available because of the short distance which is extremely important for our ongoing operation; we didn’t have that with other companies before. Bühler is also constantly asking us, even after we were up and running, whether everything is working, or what we could improve. That is a big plus-point for Bühler.” (Gottfried Glaab, the head manager of commodities for the agricultural site.)

Since the commissioning there has been a lot of encouragement and praise for the efficiency of the new agricultural site. Especially the short waiting times during intake are a positive aspect.

Hans-Peter Konrad is also satisfied: "Bühler has created a plant jointly with the customers that serves the farmers and the region. It personally fills me with pride when I visit the farm and hear about how satisfied the operators - our customers - are, as well as the farmers. The plant has been well received here."

Gottfried Glaab is glad to personally confirm this: "One also hears from customers, when the sun shines on the plant in the morning, that it is an attractive site, and it gives a feeling of pride to say, I work here."

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