With 2017’s wet and patchy harvest season James and Emma Loder-Symonds at Nonington Farms in Nonington, Kent, could not have been happier with their new grain complex.

“In a harvest such as this year where the window of opportunity is quite narrow, the new store has given us the ability to crack on with the combine and put grain into the dryer,” said James Loder-Symonds. “All our group-one milling wheat has been top spec and we haven’t lost out on hagberg. That has been a massive help for us this year.”

With a capacity for 900 tonnes per side, the 1,800-tonne store has been designed with flexibility in mind and while it is currently being used to store RGT Planet Spring Barley and Vertigo Spring Beans, it has already been used for milling wheat earlier in the season.

“That is the beauty of this store. It’s small enough for the niche crops like our beans and our barley. With two sections we can dry, fill the 2,000-tonne store next door and put the next crop in the drier,” said James.

With a number of contract farming agreements, James and his wife Emma provide a complete package for local farms, from sowing the crops through to harvesting and also the agronomy and admin like single farm payments and HLS schemes.

“We are actually very lucky because all of our clients are very close to each other,” said Emma Loder-Symonds. “The new store is much more central to operations than our 3,000-tonne store at Denne Hill and having two stores has also helped us to be more efficient as you can be drying at one and filling up the other at the same time.”

Being located in an area full of archaeological interest points, planning complications and the need for a full archaeological survey meant it was touch and go whether it would be ready in time for harvest.

“It took about 18 weeks to secure the planning and get all the archaeological surveys dealt with,” said project manager Mike Wilson at Harvest Installations. “We didn’t get final approval through till June so it was getting a bit tight. We promised James that we would get a building and concrete floor in for harvest but we actually managed to get the whole store completed.”

Despite the concerns, having used Harvest Installations for the previous grain complex James and Emma knew they were in safe hands.

“We chose Mike because his standard of work is very high and if there were any teething problems he was there to sort them out,” said James. “If you are putting a new store in and haven’t had any experience project management, getting someone like Mike to do the whole thing is the best route to take. Having one dedicated person to pull in the different components from the groundwork to the steel frame made it a lot easier, and timewise it enabled us to have a completed store that we could utilise this harvest.”

Once planning was approved, it took just 12 weeks to construct the 30x24m store, with Mike Wilson overseeing the groundworks from Roy Wickenden, the steel frame from AC Bacon, timber floor from Challow, as well as the installation of Harvest Installation’s equipment.

“We can offer the complete package from planning to construction and are always here to help people with advice,” said Mike. “I have been putting grain stores in for 40 years so customers can tap into lots of years’ experience.”

Having been around since 1979, Harvest Installations has developed its own range of constant humidity controllers, air ducts, fan units, burners and stirrers based on previous experiences with customers and finding out what farmers actually need.

“My predecessor developed the constant humidity controller and gradually we have developed the stirrer and other pieces to complement that,” said Mike. “As farms and machines get bigger, the stores need expanding, storage depth gets deeper and the need for stirrers has become more of a necessity.”

<a href=”http://www.southeastfarmer.net/assets/flipbook/2017/SEF1117/SEF11Nov17.html#p=53>Click here to read our grain storage feature