Side-by-Side Comparison: Manual vs Automated Bin Monitoring & Management

As we look ahead to the 2024 planting season, it’s a great time to look back on harvest, see what worked and what didn’t, and plan for the growing season ahead.

Grain monitoring and temperature cables are a critical tool for successful grain conditioning and grain storage. But we know that it’s often hard to pull the trigger on technology like this, so we set out to get some hard data to show you the benefits this technology can deliver.

We teamed up with one of our key dealer partners, HTS Ag, for a side-by-side grain storage study. The results are striking.

This is real data. Actual results. More than a sales guy or an engineer talking about the product. This is your reason to consider not doing things the way you always have.

This is the time to leverage technology in your decision making. OPI Grain Management systems don’t make any decisions – you do, with parameters you set. Then you get to manage the system remotely. Gone are the days of babysitting a grain dryer or bin.

In this study, HTS Ag installed two OPI Grain Management systems in nearly identical bins in North Central Iowa.

The first bin, Northwest 36, was run manually by a 40-year farmer.

The second bin, Southwest 36, was 13 feet away from the first and equipped with OPI Blue grain management system. HTS Service Manager Brandon Fischer controlled the fans and automation, put in the parameters and accessed the data real-time from anywhere to inform his decision making.

The farm harvested the grain at 19 to 25% moisture, then brought it down to 16.5% with a typical grain dryer. It was stored from October 2022 to May and June 2023.

Fans in the Northwest 36 bin ran for 250 hours using 5.5kw of power an hour, at a cost of $154.96. The farmer took the grain to town at an average of 14.17%.

In the Southwest 36 automated bin, fans ran 157.8 hours using 5.5kw an hour, at a cost of $97.81. That’s nearly 40% less fan run time!

Note that a blizzard brought frigid temperatures and caused shrinkage: Northwest 36 lost $1,350, and Southwest 36 lost $760.

When the scale tickets were compared, the results looked like this:

Northwest 36 bin – revenue loss $1,504.96

Southwest 36 bin – $647.15 savings difference


As our partner HTS Ag said, “There is nothing wrong with wanting to be hands on when it comes to storing your grain, the method of turning the fans on manually and coming back in a week may be just fine for you. But at the cost of 32 hours of “babysitting” your bins and climbing up and down to

peek in at the progress, we have found that an OPI Grain Management system still gives you the “hands on” control from anywhere, while giving you the smart advantage of using mother nature to get your grain in the condition YOU want.”

You can see the complete study on any of HTS Ag’s social channels: Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat @HTSAg.

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