Bin and dryer manufacturers say that many buyers are dramatically upgrading their facilities. Upgrades aren’t just about bigger bins. Many operations are investing in completely new or significantly reconfigured facilities that streamline the entire grain-handling, drying and storage system to mimic the efficiency of large commercial grain-handling setups.

“Many farmers are interested in going to centralized systems with higher-capacity materials-handling equipment,” Becker says. “Having everything in one location makes management easier.”

This trend, which has been cash-flowed by high commodity prices, reflects a growing awareness that existing on-farm facilities often are outmoded, undersized and in the wrong place to efficiently handle today’s larger harvests.

In many cases, smaller bins built during the last big bin-building run-up in the 1970s are being taken out of commission. Large existing bins often are being converted for bean storage, while new corn-handling facilities are built from the ground up.

“Harvest capacities have increased dramatically, so the bottleneck is at the grain drying/storage site,” says Jeff Cruzen, a regional sales manager for Mathews Company, which manufactures grain dryers. “Farmers are addressing this by updating their dryers and grain-handling systems.”