How is a Grain Bin Built?

How is a grain bin built? First, what is a grain bin? Bins are vented, silver, steel structures fatter in diameter than silos and have varying heights (google definition). Silos, often blue, were traditionally used to store silage. Silo comes from the Greek word "siros" pit for holding grain.

Think about the life-cycle of a corn plant. Farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. Did you know less than 1% of corn grown in Iowa is sweet corn? Majority of the corn grown is called dent corn. Lots of corn is used to feed livestock but corn is also used to make ethanol (fuel our cars) and consumable food.

But farmers do not always sell their grain right away. Corn reaches maturity in the fall. The leaves begin to turn brown and the corn dries in the fields. Technology in the combine tells a farmer what the moisture level is per bushel. Grain should have a moisture content between 10 and 15 percent. If the grain is too wet, it may get moldy. If the grain is harvested before it reaches the ideal moisture level, farmers can dry the corn in a grain bin.

Farmers use technology to make decisions. Depending on the moisture percentage, they can store, dry or sell. Waiting to sell can have advantages. The prices of grain may fluctuate throughout the year with supply and demand.

But how is a grain bin built? Well, the construction crew begins by pouring the cement and within a few days the roof is built. From there, the crew supports the structure on the outside as they raise it up and add panels to the bottom layer, building from the roof down.

This time-lapse video was taken over a span of 8 working days by Welu Construction. It is pretty amazing how quickly the crew can work!

Remember grain bin safety! A bridge across the top of a grain bin can collapse under your weight; never enter a bin without taking necessary precautions to protect yourself.

Be sure to ask about our grain lessons today!

Image and caption source: National Ag Safety Database

Grain Moisture Lesson Content: Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Video: Welu Construction

Grain bin photos: Johnson County, Iowa

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