Grain Quality

Grain Drying

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This professional development course gives an overview of grain drying and its effects on end use quality, capacity and energy efficiency, and familiarizes students with available grain dryer types and their utilization for drying specific grains. Lectures on grain fires and maintenance procedures for grain dryers are also included.

Course Goals: This class aims to teach the basic principles of grain drying, so that by the end students will be able to take the strategies and measurement methods from the lectures and use them on their own to measure grain quality and energy efficiency in grain drying.

Target Audience: This course is designed for people with responsibilities relating to drying of grains, specifically: grain facility owners/operators, elevator superintendents, location or regional managers, maintenance personnel with dryer maintenance and repair duties, grain dryer manufacturers, distributors and technical sales staff, commercial grain producers that dry on-farm, university students and anyone with a professional need to learn more about grain dryer operation.


Dr. Dirk Maier  Iowa State UniversitySee Bio

Dr. Maier is professor at Iowa State University and previously served as director of the GEAPS/K-State Distance Education Program. Maier’s research and extension education programs focus on post-harvest engineering, stored-product protection, structural fumigation, value-added processing, and quality assurance of agricultural crops and biological products. Before joining Iowa State University, Dr. Maier was professor and head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University and professor, associate head and extension agricultural engineer at Purdue University.

Dr. Ricardo Bartosik  National Institute of Agricultural Technologies (INTA) See Bio

Dr. Bartosik is a researcher and extension engineer for the National Institute of Agricultural Technologies (INTA) of Argentina, serving as national coordinator of post-harvest grain programs. Dr. Bartosik’s research experience includes grain drying, aeration design and management, controlled atmospheres and modeling of the grain ecosystem and grain post-harvest processes. He is also involved in higher education and professional training in post-harvest grain operations

Dr. Ron Noyes  Oklahoma State UniversitySee Bio

Prior to retirement in 2004, Dr. Noyes was an extension agricultural engineer with expertise in the area of grain drying, storage and handling, and agricultural chemical handling, storage and application, with emphasis on aircraft spray systems calibration. Noyes is president of Grain Storage Engineering, LLC and works as a consultant in grain storage systems engineering.

Dr. Mike Montross  University of KentuckySee Bio

Dr. Montross received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in agricultural engineering from Michigan State University and his doctorate in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University in 1999. His research can be divided into two main areas: drying, storage and granular mechanics of grains and oilseeds and biomass collection, characterization, and processing.

Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen  University of Arkansas Rice Processing ProgramSee Bio

Dr. Siebenmorgen is a professor at the University of Arkansas. He is also director of the U of A’s Rice Processing Program, a multidisciplinary, industry-focused program addressing research related to rice processing. Dr. Siebenmorgen’s research interests are in rice property characterization, drying, milling and quality assessment. Dr. Siebenmorgen has served as a faculty member of the U of A since 1984.

Dr. Klein Ileleji  Purdue University Department of Agricultural and Biological EngineeringSee Bio

Dr. Ileleji earned a Master of Professional Studies in applied economics and business management at the Institute of Economic Studies at Nitra, Slovakia and a doctorate in agricultural engineering at the Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra. Dr. Ileleji’s research focus and interest at Purdue University is in the area of biomass feedstock logistics, processing, particulate flows and handling, and biofeedstock engineering systems for food, feed, fuel and fiber production.

Professor Werner Muhlbauer  University of HohenheimSee Bio

Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – The Principles of Grain Drying
This lecture introduces the course and covers fundamental principles of grain drying with a focus on grain and air properties. Students will learn about grain properties, air properties and psychrometrics for drying and equilibrium/moisture content relationship. Students will be given charts and formulas to fully understand the principles of grain drying. Examples will also be given for students to test out different situations and their knowledge of the lecture.
Lecturers: Dr. Ricardo Bartosik, Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 2 – Drying Capacity and Sizing Dryers
This lecture reviews the sizing and selection of grain drying systems. It will cover the following main topics: selecting drying systems, calculating drying capacity, calculating energy usage and sizing grain drying systems. Students will learn the primary objective of drying, the four drying system categories, key factors when selecting a grain drying system, how to determine needed drying capacity and how to calculate drying energy efficiency. Students will have the opportunity to use an online psychrometric calculator and EMC software tool.
Lecturers: Dr. Mike Montross, Dr. Dirk Maier

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Types of Grain Dryers, Part 1
This lecture introduces and reviews grain dryer types. It will provide students with an overview of high-capacity dryers, cross-flow dryers, concurrent-flow dryers as well as the dilemmas of high-capacity dryers such as energy versus quality and gradients versus uniformity. By the end of this lecture students will be able to name the primary three high-capacity drying systems, what differentiates these systems, the two dilemmas of rapidly drying grain, how to operate a high-capacity drying system efficiently and how to avoid poor grain quality.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 4 – Types of Grain Dryers, Part 2
In this lecture students will continue to learn about grain dryer types. They will be provided an overview of mixed-flow dryers, in-bin dryers and in-bin drying systems such as shallow-batch drying, deep-batch drying and combination drying. Students will learn the major advantages and disadvantages to each type of system and the basics of each system. Guest lecturer Professor Werner Muhlbauer of the Institute of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart will discuss grain dryer types used in Germany.
Lecturers: Dr. Ricardo Bartosik, Dr. Dirk Maier, Professor Werner Muhlbauer

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Rice Drying and Milling Quality
This lecture will provide a general introduction to rice drying. Students will learn about rice consumption, characteristics and production around the world. The lecture addresses specifics such as bin and storage systems for rice, measurement of milling quality, the EMC of rice and how to apply glass transition principles to rice drying.
Lecturer: Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen

Lecture 6 – Drying of Specialty Grains
In this lecture students will become familiar with drying of specialty grains such as edible beans, popcorn, canola, sunflower and seed. It will give an overview of general considerations and drying techniques for each of the specialty grain types. By the end of the lecture, students will know the key quality factors to consider when drying specialty grains, the factors that affect popping volume of popcorn, the primary challenges when drying and conditioning specialty grains and what is critical to the successful drying of seeds.
Lecturers: Dr. Ricardo Bartosik, Dr. Ron Noyes

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Dryeration and Energy Savings
This lecture will go over moisture variability such as segregating based on moisture content and tempering of hot grain, as well as dryeration and energy savings such as batch dryeration and in-bin cooling and continuous-flow dryeration. Students will learn about the challenge of initial kernel-to-kernel moisture variability, the options that exist to overcome the challenge of moisture variability, the underlying principle of dryeration and how it improves grain quality and the benefits of the continuous-flow dryeration system.
Lecturers: Dr. Ron Noyes, Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 8 – Fuel Sources, Burner Designs and Energy Usage
This lecture will outline fuels, burner designs and energy usage including fuel types and energy content, natural and propane gas burners, LP-gas vaporizers, fuel oil burners, electric resistance heaters and energy usage for drying. Students will know how to determine whether a grain dryer burner has a good combustion, the major burner design problems in grain dryers, the main configurations of burners in grain dryers and the alternative energy sources that can be used for grain drying.
Lecturers: Dr. Ron Noyes, Dr. Klein Ileleji

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Automatic Control of Grain Dryers
In this lecture students will learn about automatic control of grain dryers including temperature control, moisture control and quality control. Main topics covered include the primary control strategies for high-capacity drying systems, the requirements to incorporate predictive control in an automatic dryer controller, the primary parameters a controller can regulate and the quality parameters that have been investigated for automatic dryer controllers.
Lecturers: Dr. Dirk Maier, Dr. Mike Montross

Lecture 10 – Testing Dryers for Capacity and Energy Efficiency
This lecture covers the basics of testing dryers for capacity and energy efficiency, including standard test procedures, testing equipment needed, test variables to be monitored, calculating capacity, and calculating energy use and efficiency. Topics also include key measurements in capacity and energy efficiency, the key sensors and equipment needed for conducting an energy efficiency test on a grain dryer, how to monitor for fuel consumption using an energy performance test and more ways to analyze data for energy efficiency.
Lecturer: Dr. Klein Ileleji

Lesson 11 – Bonus Lectures on Grain Fires and Maintenance of Grain Dryers
These lectures will provide an overview of grain fires and the maintenance of grain dryers. In the first lecture, students will see an overview of a grain fire from beginning to end and will learn steps to provide safety before, during, and after a fire. It will use guidelines discovered through observations of the MAC Marlette Dryer fire in 2009. The second lecture will outline grain dryer maintenance, maintenance procedures and fire prevention. By the end of the lectures students will understand solid maintenance procedures for quality and total safety.
Guest Lecturers