Comments - Farm Grain Handling

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Finished grain bin ready for filling.Assembling the grain binFinished grain binRotating bracket locks down the lifting handle to hold top closed.Opening the cover and then sliding it back



Behlen Mini Bulk Bin. The grain bin shown above is the 2-ton version described in the manufacturer's literature (picture at far left). The 2 ton grain bin is built from the same 1-1/2 ton bulk bin kit, but with an additional ring extension and ladder extension added on top to increase height and capacity.

Capacity. The 2-ton version of the grain bin (see the homemade photos above) holds approximately 70 bushels. The photo in the manufacturer's literature shows the 1-1/2 ton version with 2 rings. The 2-ton version has 3 rings. The 3 ring version has an internal volume capacity of 70 bushels.

Links:  There are lots of manufacturers of bulk bins so if the bin shown here doesn't meet your needs or you are unable to obtain this model shown here, then type 'mini bulk bin' in your search engine and find another source.

Updated and corrected on April 26th, 2010. Previously there were numerous errors on this page as a result of using a weight ticket that was mistakenly given to me in place of my own weight ticket. A new weight ticket was used in making corrections to this page. The corrected entrees below offer a much better view of the economics of buying grain in bulk instead of bagged grain.

Assembly and erection of the bulk bin. The bulk bin is sold as a kit and must be assembled by the owner. The reinforced concrete pad must be designed and constructed by the owner.

Opening and filling the grain bin. The cover opens like a large trash can lid, and is hinged on a pair of sliding rods that attach to the side of the bin. After lifting the cover, the cover is slid back about half way and tilted up- exposing the entire top of the grain bin for filling. After closing the bin cover, the cover is held down by a rotating latch that fastens through the cover lifting handle.

The large bin cover proved to be much more desirable than I first expected. Rather than having a vent on the top that would leak rain water into the grain, the entire top is covered and sealed from the weather. Lifting the entire top off for filling makes it easier for the truck driver because he can place his auger anywhere over the top of the bin rather than try to aim for a small fill hole. I would recommend this style of bin closure to anyone buying a new 2-ton grain bin.

2006 delivery statement2006 weight ticketCost to purchase grain to fill this bin. The first load to fill this grain bin in November of 2005 was approximately 75 bushels of oats. I was given another customers weight ticket so I don't have accurate costs or details on the first filling. The next load of grain was 72.5 bushels (weight 2320 lbs. U.S. 32 lbs. test) of oats on September 25, 2006, at a cost of $163.13 (roughly the equivalent of $3.52 for a #50 sack of grain at that time). The bin was completely empty at the time of this second filling and the 72.5 bushels filled the bin to the top.

Life before owning a bulk bin. Traveling to the feed store to buy bagged grain was very expensive in time and fuel. And the cost of bagged grain in 2005-2006 was very high at $9 for a 50 lbs. bag. Bagged grain is more commonly found near cities because acreage owners buy bagged grain. Farmers purchase grain in bulk -not in sacks- thus saving a lot of money. The long drive into the city cost $14 in gasoline for a car, and more for the truck. I didn't figure in the cost of maintenance, so vehicle maintenance would be an extra cost added into the total cost of buying bagged grain.

Comparisons: one 50 lbs. sack of oats equals roughly 1-1/2 bushels of oats. A 50 lbs. sack of oats cost $9 in 2005. The equivalent amount of oats that I filled my bulk bin with (including delivery charges) was approximately $3.52. I was purchasing between 2 and 3 sacks (50 lbs. sacks) of grain (or 100 to 150 lbs.) every 9 days. The bulk bin holds 2300 lbs. of oats (72.5 bushels) or the equivalent of 46 sacks of grain.

Advantages of bulk grain bins. Grain priced in bulk (including delivery charges) is approximately 60% lower than bagged grain. The grain bin dramatically reduced my feed bill from $1600 per year to less than $300 per year. Thus realizing a savings of $1300 per year in feed and fuel expenses. The new bulk bin literally paid for itself and the grain it held, in 8 months! Also I get more work done at home because I don't spend 3-1/2 days out of each month driving into town to buy more bagged grain. Feeding time is greatly reduced each day as there is no need to fiddle with feed sacks while filling a bucket with grain. I filled the bin during November of 2005 and would not refill it again until September 2006. This was all the grain I needed for almost the entire year.

NOTE: It is not a good idea to store grain in a metal bin for so long due to the risk of condensation causing the grain to mildew. However I was lucky and did not see any mildew form during the year.

Disadvantages of metal bulk bins. One important disadvantage of using metal containers for grain storage in humid locations is that the metal sweats when exposes to changes in temperature. The condensation that forms on the inside walls of the metal storage can then cause mold or mildew in the grain. Consequently the grain should be used up or rotated within roughly 6 months or so. Wood storage by comparison would more easily store grain for a full year.

Constructing the concrete pad or base. The grain bin stands on a reinforced concrete pad 5-foot square, and 6-inches thick. Four drag links provide easy connection with chains and hooks for moving with a tractor or a team of horses. Mounting studs were welded to the reinforcing steel that was cast into the concrete pad. Stud positions need to be accurately placed. Stud positions were carefully marked on a steel welding table. 5/8-inch nuts were tack-welded to these locations on the table. 4-inch long bolts (5/8" diameter) were then threaded into the nuts and the lattice of steel re-bar was then welded to the the heads of the bolts. Drag links were welded to the sides of the re-bar framework. The drag links were made from 1-inch round steel and forged in a "Ω" shape before welding, so as to prevent them from breaking away from the re-bar and pulling out of the concrete pad while dragging or moving the concrete base. The bottom of the grain bin legs were reamed to accept the larger stud sizes because the legs were originally punched for 1/2-inch studs. I chose to use larger studs to withstand corrosion over a longer time period.

Getting it done. Buying a new grain bin was highly despised by most people that offered advice to me. Over and over the story line was that new bins were too expensive and that I would find plenty of grain bins at farm auctions if I would 'just keep my eyes open'. But the grain bins I found at farm auctions were always broken down junk that would cost more to repair than what it would cost to purchase a new bulk bin. The good bins seldom get to auction because they are sold to friends and neighbors. The high cost of the bagged grain, and the costs of driving back and forth to town to purchase bagged grain were tearing up my budget and after 2 years I had had enough. I bought a new bulk bin from a Behlen dealer.

My advice to others: quit wasting your time and money traveling to auctions to find good equipment. Buy a new bulk bin from your local feed store and cut your feed bill immediately. The savings will pay for the new bin during the first year and dramatically cut expenses thereafter.

Page updated September 22, 2019

Author's name withheld.

Page created on January 5th, 2006.