Low grain prices encourage farmers to add storage

Farm Forum

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota farmers have been adding grain storage in an effort to save more money by selling when grain prices rebound.

Farmers can easily make an extra 50 cents a bushel by holding grain through harvest and selling it later, Greg Trame, senior manager for grain storage for Illinois-based Grain Systems, told the Tri-State Neighbor ( ). “These are times that grain storage pays for itself” in two or three years, he said.

For example, a 500-acre corn crop that yields 200 bushels per acre could sell for $3.40 at harvest or for $3.85 in the future, accounting for a difference of $45,000.

“This is actually an investment that will help the bottom line,” Trame said.

Farmers have been building bigger grain bins as a result of the massive yields hauled in at harvest. They’ve also been upgrading their grain handling equipment to keep up with faster combines.

Grain bin companies are offering models that are taller with a bigger diameter, designing bins to be stronger and adding extra safety features.

The newspaper reported that safety features found at commercial grain storage facilities are being brought to the family farm, with stairs and handrails replacing ladders, and stair systems that follow the same Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards for details such as step height and handrail width.

The stairs make it easier for aging farmers to climb bins and make it safer for the family members who are working with them, according to Lane Sanderson, Grain Systems’ district manager for South Dakota and Nebraska.

“It’s a good trend. It’s nice to see it coming around,” he said.