Is it hard for you to imagine why you would need remote grain monitoring when you already have a solid portable system in place? Then let’s consider two scenarios.
It’s just after dawn on a crisp spring morning. Your thermos is full of hot coffee, and Luke Bryan is playing on the radio. You offer a friendly salute to your neighbor as you pass each other on the road. A cloud of dust follows your F-150 down a gravel road to your most remote grain bins. After a quick check of your bins’ grain temperature cables with your portable SafeScan device, you’ve checked one thing off your to-do list for the day. Life is good.
Now imagine it’s January. Same scenario, but this time it’s -13 °F outside. The sun doesn’t come up for another hour, and the air burns cold with each breath. Your foot slips off an icy rung on your climb to the top of the grain bin. Exposed fingers sting as you jot down your readings. You think to yourself, there must be a better way to get this information.
And you’d be right. There is. It’s called GrainTrac.
Is Farming Getting Smarter with the Internet of Things?
Many farmers and grain managers have learned over time how grain temperature management is intertwined with their bottom line. They’ve been actively using TSGC portable grain temperature monitoring systems for years to ensure optimum grain quality. These portable systems are quick and easy to use. And they offer a low-cost solution to those new to grain management.
As farms grow – acquiring or renting more land, adding more cables and grain bins, and spreading operations over a greater area – their grain management needs change. Maybe they don’t want to check multiple temperature cables in several bins at various locations anymore. Maybe they’re saying, “I don’t want to go stand out there in July or January. I wish there were another way to read these temperatures.” And maybe you’ve outgrown portable devices and you’re feeling that way too.
Fortunately, the solution is already here. With the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) almost anything you can turn on and off can be connected to the Internet and to each other. You probably recognize these devices by their familiar tag, “smart.” Smart phones, smart homes, and smart cars, for example. Everything from kitchen appliances to irrigation systems can connect to other devices and “talk” to each other without human intervention.
This is where GrainTrac comes into play. A complete “smart” remote grain monitoring system.
How Does GrainTrac Remote Grain Monitoring Work?
Your GrainTrac unit is mounted to a black metal bracket with an antenna, which is then mounted to the bin. Now you can send information from the temperature monitoring cable sensors in the bin to somewhere else.
Everything starts with the temperature cables that collect data and send it to a sensor board. When the sensor board receives the data, it sends it to Crop Link, which allows farmers to monitor a number of farm devices. Crop Link sends the information to a cell phone modem where it forwards the data to a server. And voila! You log in on your smartphone or computer to see the temperatures.
The beauty of GrainTrac remote grain monitoring is that you can get that crucial data at prescribed times or on-demand, while you’re drinking your coffee inside on a frigid January morning, or while you’re working in the field on a fast-paced autumn day. You can check your grain temperature at any time from virtually anywhere you have Internet.
Grain management best practices mean you’re always looking for grain temperature trends to see if your grain is healthy or unhealthy. For instance, as you’re checking your grain temperatures in real time, that data is also being stored. That history makes it easy to identify trends.
You can connect one temperature cable to GrainTrac, or ten cables from one bin. Connect 10 bins together. There are multiple configurations that you can personalize to your grain management needs.
What Else Can Remote Grain Monitoring Do for Me?
Probably one of the most useful aspects of GrainTrac is that it is completely customizable. Whether you’re a farmer with changing needs, or the grain manager of a local elevator, GrainTrac removes grain storage guesswork. TSGC custom designs your system to match the needs of your grain handling facility.
GrainTrac has at least a baker’s dozen in benefits that save you time, money, and energy.
- You can access your grain temperature information remotely in real time.
- You can store grain temperature data to watch for changes and trends over time.
- Your stored historical data and trends help you make grain storage decisions.
- GrainTrac alerts you whenever there is grain heat activity before it results in grain damage.
- Because it’s a remote grain monitoring system, you’ll save time driving to bin sites, climbing bins, and hand-collecting data.
- Your temperature data displays in easy-to-read real time charts and historical graphs.
- You can program GrainTrac to take and store readings four times daily, once every 30 minutes, or on-demand.
- GrainTrac reads the data collected from most grain temperature cables, including our own Tri-States Grain Conditioning temperature cables.
- Knowing the temperature of your grain in real time informs when to turn on/off fans to prevent over-aeration, which results in grain shrinkage and financial loss.
- Your grain temperature data helps you use grain bin dryers efficiently to save energy and money.
- A theft monitoring circuit alerts you via smartphone or email whenever your grain handling equipment is started or stopped. Further, you can configure alerts during harvest season to monitor truck loading and unloading at bin sites.
- There are fan control options that work in concert with temperature monitoring. Therefore, you can turn fans on/off remotely according to grain temperature.
- Other optional monitors include weather sensors that monitor rainfall, humidity, and wind.
What’s My Next Step Getting Started with GrainTrac?
Whew! That’s a lot of benefits, and that’s not even all of them.
If you’re currently using a portable grain temperature monitoring system, and want the benefits that GrainTrac provides, upgrading is easy. Use your current temperature monitoring cables, or take the opportunity to add more cables, more bins, and more locations.
If you’ve never used a grain temperature monitoring system and have questions, we’re here for you too.