Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Steel Grain Bins Gain Hopper Bottoms

I am sure you've heard it said, "If these walls could talk..."
On grain farms it's the storage facilities that could tell the story of the farm.
They stand by in every season.
Waiting for the crop.
Watching the years go by.
Protecting the fragile food that they contain.
Every small town of the prairie has one or more grain elevator for the storage of commodities. The first ones were built when the railroad began steaming across the land. 
Granaries and bins could tell stories of good years and bad, of drought and drown out, of changing needs and materials. They know the success and failures on the farm.
Farmers have laughed and cried as the bins stand still and silently watch the saga of the American farm unfold.
Although these bins seem to think that Lindsay is a husky giant. How rude! 
Historically, GriggsDakota has been a farm that raises small grains. In more recent times the crops have expanded to include corn, soybeans and edible beans. Genetic improvements have allowed us to raise these crops despite our short growing season. As this was evolving, we installed a couple of hopper bins on our farm. This year we decided to install a few more. We raise seed soybeans for Pioneer and they had a cost share program in place for seed growers. As I have asserted before, farmers are cheap, so their program makes it a great time to upgrade.
 The hopper bottoms make loading and unloading a faster process. It makes cleaning the bin out simpler. 
It means we can get truckloads of seed, plant the crop and quickly haul in seed for a different crop. We can harvest the barley, air dry it with the fans, then haul it out before harvesting beans or corn.
These bin bottoms are manufactured nearby in GreaterDakota 
The spokes that hold the bottom of the hopper steady remind me of the spokes of the wagon wheels that brought the pioneers across the Great Plains.
If the pioneers could see what their hard work led to, I believe they would be astonished. 
The need to pick up the pace on the farm and push the growing season has been enhanced by technology including fans and vents that can be easily installed on the hopper bins. 
The set up crew arrived recently to convert these three bins. 
 They brought a portable crane  to lift. Steel bins are relatively light weight structures, but unwieldy.
I could hardly believe this was going to work. 
Wasn't something going to tip or break? I felt better realizing that it wasn't very windy.
The first bin was installed and all went well.  
The hopper bottoms were installed on the cement pad that had served as the bottom of the bin. 
Then the bin was reassembled on the hopper bottom
Everything is bolted down and the electrician came to do the wiring and install the fans. 
The old bins are much taller on their hopper bottoms. Their capacity and usefulness has increased. Stoically, they stand by and say nothing. If the bins could talk, what a story they could tell of GriggsDakota.


  1. I love this post! Well done Mom! It's the best combination of wit and wisdom. A couple quick questions: did we have to get a 3-phase line installed to run the new fans on the bins? Did you get a new meter installed so it's separate from the house? I'll have to call tonight to discuss this. It's all so interesting!

  2. Enjoyed reading your post, amazing that they can put the older bins on the hopper bottoms ! If only our Dads and Granddads had those luxuries when they were farming. Love your references with the spokes...