List prices for both bins and dryers are up in 2011 from 2010, with more price hikes likely in the future. While dryer prices are up modestly, many bin manufacturers have bumped prices 20% or more since last fall in response to steel price hikes of about 40%, according to Benson of Chief Industries.

“With steel such a major part of the cost of a bin, we are in the position of having to change our prices right along with the price of steel,” adds Tuttle of Brock Grain Systems. “But the reality is, we struggle to maintain our margins because it is hard to pass along such large price increases in real time.”

Despite higher prices, manufacturers expect the bin-building boom to continue beyond 2011. “If what the seed corn industry is telling us about expected yield increases is right, we’ll continue to need more storage,” Benson says.