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With insurance companies cracking down, and more and more farmers seeking more efficient options, the use of compressed air for blowing down headers has increased dramatically over the last decade.

Bruder Australia is launching a short series of articles addressing common misconceptions and to assist farmers with finding the right compressor for their needs…

How many cfm do I need? Common question, some say 90, others say 400. 

140 +. And up to as big as you feel like dragging around your farm.

The reason is not so much to do with whether it will blow down your header properly, but more the mechanical side. A portable diesel compressor requires a certain pressure level to be maintained in the Air/Oil separator to prevent the oil from entering the lines. This is not such an issue with electric compressors which often have a receiver to act as a “buffer” and its not such an issue with diesel compressors in the civil market where they are often used with a flow restricting tool (e.g. jack hammer) which provided back pressure. This is however, an issue in the agriculture market where the machines are being used at ‘free-flow’ for a large percentage of their life.

While this isn’t going to kill your compressor on the first day, it does affect the performance and, along with the annoyance of oil in your lines, can create more significant longer term issues.

This sweet spot of back pressure isn’t an exact science, it varies from machine to machine and can even be affected by what oils are used and the ambient temperatures the compressor is being used in. However, as a rule of thumb, we say minimum 140cfm.