The glint of new corrugated steel bins and dryers will continue to transform the agricultural landscape as new grain-handling facilities take up residence on more farms.

Bin and dryer manufacturers had wondered whether the extensive 2010 building boom would cool down in 2011. But surprisingly brisk early orders have some manufacturers wondering whether 2011 could match 2010’s record sales.

“Two thousand ten was a record-setting year, and 2011 has been gangbuster so far, as well,” says John Tuttle, district sales manager for Brock Grain Systems in Iowa, northern Illinois and Wisconsin. “Whether it is going to continue at that pace into the building season, I’m not sure.”

Ed Benson, general sales manager for Chief Industries grain bins, tells pretty much the same story: “In one word, business is great. With current commodity prices, the demand for grain storage both on the farm and commercial is outstanding. We expect a large increase from 2010 in 2011.”

Although bin sales are expected to continue to be brisk, dryer sales, although still strong, appear to be backing off from 2010’s torrid pace.

“In 2010, a lot of the interest focused on drying equipment because of the wet harvest in 2009, and capacity was tight,” says Scott Becker, farm storage product manager for Grain Systems Inc. (GSI). “The focus this year has shifted more to storage and materials-handling equipment. We’re still getting some interest in dryers, more than we expected after the exceptional year we had in 2010.”