Everything You’ll Need To Establish On-Farm Grain Storage

Everything You’ll Need To Establish On-Farm Grain Storage

Published by The Grain Handling Direct Team on Nov 7th 2022

Are you considering adding on-site grain storage facilities to your farm? Before you do, explore our guide on what you’ll need to establish on-farm grain storage, what to consider when designing your facilities, and more!

Facilities and Equipment Needed To Store Grain On-site

Grain Bins or Silos

First, you’ll need somewhere to put the grain you plan to store on your farm. The typical choice for farmers is either grain bins or silos. Bins are the preferred choice for grain storage, while silos are ideal for silage such as animal feed.

Grain bins are the better choice for most scenarios, and you’ll also have to decide what type of bins will most benefit you. Corrugated grain bins are more suited for large farms, as their design makes them more stable for large quantities of grain. If your farm is small or medium, smooth-walled bins should serve just as well and be more affordable than corrugated units.

In-Bin Dryers

As all farmers know, you can’t just dump a ton of grain into a bin and let it sit by itself for long periods. Too much moisture from humidity or condensation in a grain bin can quickly spoil the crop and cost farmers substantial losses in lost grain.

To keep the grain sufficiently dry, grain bins need high-quality in-bin dryers that provide sufficient airflow to prevent moisture buildup. The more grain you store, the more capable dryers you’ll need.

Pro tip: Experts recommend that farmers check their grain storage for mold growth and other musty odors weekly, as it can spread quickly and be detrimental to stored grain in just a few days.

Grain Elevators

You’ll also need something to transport all that grain to the top of your tall grain bins. This is where a grain elevator, otherwise known as a grain leg, comes in.

A grain elevator leg is a straightforward piece of equipment—it transports the grain from trucks and pits to the top of the grain bin with a long-armed conveyor belt. It’s the safest and most secure way to transport grain into storage and something you’ll need to establish on-farm grain storage.

Three-Phase Power

Naturally, to operate these new facilities and equipment, you’ll need a lot of electrical power. While most residential buildings use single-phase power, you’ll want three-phase power for your grain storage facilities.

Three-phase power is a three-wire alternating current power unit for electricity generation. Three-phase power is much more consistent in delivering power, and when you’ve got a lot of power going to bins and dryers, you can’t afford any dropouts in electricity.

Things To Consider When Planning Grain Storage Facilities

Once you’ve got all the things you need, you’ll have to start planning where to put them and how to use them. Keep these things in mind while designing your new on-site grain storage.

Highway Access

When hauling tons of grain to and from your new on-farm storage facilities, you’ll want to have easy access to the highway for your trucks. For one, better access cuts down on gasoline for the trucks and saves money, making transport easier.

If you live miles from the highway, your transport trucks can be at the mercy of adverse weather and road conditions. If possible, make highway access a priority for your storage facilities so that trucks can get in and out easily and make the operation more efficient.

Proximity to Fields

You’ll also want the grain storage facilities to be near the farm and fields from which grain will be hauled. Again, this helps reduce the transport time and makes the storage operation much more efficient, saving you on fuel costs and even reducing the number of trucks you need.

It may not seem like a big deal but consider how many times trucks and equipment will pass from the field to storage facilities. Making the on-farm grain storage a little closer can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Future Expansion

You don’t want to get too ahead of yourself, but even in the initial planning stages, you should consider the potential future expansion of your storage capabilities. After all, grain storage helps farmers save money and generate greater profits, which they can invest into expanding their storage facilities, improving profits even more.

You may have just enough space for grain bins on the farm now, but what if you wanted to add another bin or two in a few years? Keep these things in mind as you design, and you could make it much easier to expand in the future.

Benefits of On-Farm Grain Storage

Why do farmers invest in on-farm grain storage in the first place? Because it offers many financial benefits, from market flexibility to real estate value!

Grain-Selling Flexibility

The primary benefit of on-site grain storage for farmers is that it gives them much greater flexibility in selling their grain. Harvest season is the worst time to sell grain, as this is when the supply is at its greatest and the prices are lowest.

But with on-farm storage, farmers can wait to sell their grain later in the year, like winter, when the supply dwindles and the demand is greater. On-site storage also means farmers can avoid expensive freight costs that are common during harvest when trucks are most in demand.

Skip the Elevator Lines

Farmers who don’t have on-site grain storage will benefit from a grain elevator. Grain elevators store and dry grain for farmers, but farmers have to pay a steep price for this benefit. Additionally, there can be many problems, like delays on heavy traffic days.

With on-site storage, farmers can skip the long lines and fees at the grain elevator and keep their grain at the farm, meaning fewer fuel costs in transporting goods to the elevator and greater efficiency.

Enhance the Farm’s Value

There’s also value in adding on-site grain storage infrastructure from a real estate perspective. On-farm storage gives the land greater capability and makes it more likely to turn a profit when selling grain, making it a more lucrative piece of land to potential buyers.

Even if you never plan to sell the farm, adding grain storage facilities makes the farming operation more attractive.

If you have further questions about grain storage facilities and equipment, don’t hesitate to ask our staff at Grain Handling Direct!

Everything You’ll Need To Establish On-Farm Grain Storage