Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2004
Publication Date: 6/25/2004
Citation: Cermak, S.C., Isbell, T.A., Isbell, J.E., Akerman, G.G., Lowery, B.A., Deppe, A.B. 2005. Batch drying of cuphea seeds. Industrial Crops and Products. 21(3):353-359. Interpretive Summary: How do farmers learn to harvest new crops? How do they know which analytical methods to use to evaluate their crops? The answers to these questions are through the use of research. Cuphea is a new crop currently grown in the Midwest that one day will be a rotation crop. Like most new crops, cuphea has certain challenges that make it difficult to handle. Cuphea has an indeterminate growth-rate which means the plant does not stop growing and fails to dry down in the field, like corn and soybeans. This new crop then is harvested as wet seeds which makes it almost impossible for farmers to handle. With the help of a grain dryer and a low cost grain moisture meter, the cuphea seeds harvested are dried to a level that can be stored. By inventing and exploring new and better ways to handle unusual situations with new crops, we will help these crops become successful champions in the future.
Technical Abstract: Freshly mechanically-harvested cuphea seed from the Midwest contains more than 50% moisture. These high moisture levels lead to very challenging drying problems. Cuphea seeds must be dried immediately to reduce moisture before mold and material-clumping materialize. The freshly harvested, wet, uncleaned seeds were dried using a Grain Technology 245XL Dryer. Drier conditions were optimized over a two year period to yield a procedure for a batch drying process. In this process, the grain dryer was modified to help meet the demands of a small seed that has greater than 50% moisture at harvest. The seed moisture data was collected on an economical, commercially available meter, the G-7 Grain Moisture Meter, with settings for different crops. The different settings on the meter were correlated to the actual cuphea moisture percentages. The actual cuphea moisture was found to be most comparable to the soybean setting only when the reading was under 20% moisture. The dried seeds were cleaned in a Pioneer Fanning Mill with cleaning sieves of 0.4375 and 0.2188 inches. The dry and clean seeds were bagged for storage and future planting.