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New to the Industry


Written By: Sheldon Ball, Grain CleaningMar 07, 2012

As a new employee at Flaman Sales, and a new resident to Saskatchewan, I’m excited to be starting a new career in the grain cleaning industry. With a background in the field of computer technology, I’m definitely starting from square one. Being new to the field is a little daunting, but I hope my “fresh” perspective can provide valuable insights and new ideas.

With the problem of ergot across the prairies over the last few years, there has been an ever increasing demand for efficient and effective grain cleaning. Ergot is a fungus which is toxic. It can cause infertility in humans and animals in fairly small doses and can cause a host of other health issues including death. Color sorters have been proven to be excellent tools to engage this problem with.
 
They are capable of removing almost all of the ergot from contaminated loads of grain. Since the tolerance level of ergot in the market (for wheat) ranges from about 0.04% to 0.01% depending on the spec, these machines are very necessary in sorting grain to a saleable product.
 
This is where I fit in. I have been hired as the new color sorter field technician. Basically, these machines are designed to separate “good” grain from “unwanted” grain. These machines are full of electronic, mechanical, and pneumatic components. The high flow machines are capable of sorting up to 25 tonnes of grain per hour. Flaman primarily sells two models; the Alphascan II and the Evolution. The Alphascan II is a monochromatic machine which is excellent for sorting high volumes of product with color differences in one light spectrum. These are the work horses for dealing with ergot. The Evolution is a full color sorting machine which is best utilized for sorting product with many different colored defects.
 
From what I’ve seen, both of these machines are phenomenal sorters and I’m excited to be a part of the industry which is providing better, cleaner products to the world’s markets. I’ll be traveling all over the prairies this year making sure these machines are in tip top shape and making their owners (our customers) money. I’m looking forward to meeting all existing customers and hopefully some new ones as well.
 
-Sheldon
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Posted in Division News | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot | More articles by Sheldon Ball

Gearing up for another winter in Western Canada


Written By: Flaman Grain Cleaning, Grain Cleaning SalesDec 14, 2011

Another winter is among us! Combines are put away, fall work is done (we hope), and the cows are coming home. Here at Flaman we are looking forward to another grain cleaning season. I am really looking forward to getting on the road to see as many people as possible that are cleaning, or are thinking about cleaning their own grain. After an above average harvest in most areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta there is one thing on most people’s mind, Ergot. There was a number of ergot issues ranging from North Battleford all the way to Edmonton and as far south as Medicine Hat. This means busy times for Colour Sorters in Saskatchewan and Alberta. At Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling we are offering free colour sorter demos where you can bring in your own sample and watch the Satake Colour Sorter do its’ magic! The Western Canadian Crop Production Show is back in Saskatoon from January 9th – 12th, 2012. I will be making my way down the Yellowhead to Edmonton on January 11th – 13th, 2012 for the Alberta Seed Cleaning convention taking place at the Westin Hotel. This is a first time show for myself and I am very excited to see the people behind the Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants of Alberta. Christmas is coming fast so make sure to get that Christmas shopping done and have a very safe and happy holiday season!

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot Winter Saskatchewan Winder Alberta | More articles by Flaman Grain Cleaning

What is Ergot?


Written By: Roy Ritchie, Grain Cleaning SalesDec 12, 2011

Ergot is a type of fungus that grows on many grasses, rye, wheat, barley, and triticale.It infects the floret of the grass or cereal and mimics the process of pollinated grain growing on the plant. On ergot infected plants, a spore destroys the ovary, and then connects to the plant by attaching itself to the plant’s seed nutrition system. An infected floret can also infect other florets by insect dispersal of the asexual spores. That means that an insect can carry millions of the spores to other plants in the region. When mature ergot drops to the ground the fungus remains dormant until proper conditions trigger its fruiting phase, germinate and re-infest an area.

Ergot is toxic. Infestations in the grain can cause spontaneous abortions in people and animals, as well as some very unpleasant symptoms. It can cause irrational behavior, seizures, convulsions, unconsciousness, even death. This explains why there is almost zero tolerance for ergot in grain for sale. Much of the grain should not even be fed to animals. Point zero one [.01%] percent is all that is allowed for a #1 specification.

Ergot has infected a wide area in Saskatchewan and Alberta over the last few years. Some places have had the infestation 3 or more years in a row with various areas having ergot at 0.7% and higher. It is getting worse. My personal belief is that it is here to stay. Some years will be better than others but it will always be a market factor. Plant scientists don’t even have a straight answer to this problem. There is a wide difference of opinion. Maybe a prolonged dry spell will reduce the amount but as soon as it rains at the right time again we are back to ergot woes.

This is only one man’s opinion…
Next installment, how do we proceed? Colour Sorters vs. Gravity Tables.  

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot | More articles by Roy Ritchie