On-farm grain storage structures are trending toward bigger, taller and stronger configurations that can be erected more quickly than ever before. Thanks to new engineering innovations, bigger bins also can be built with better protection for grain quality.

“The trend is that everybody is going bigger and choosing a large bin that takes up less real estate than multiple, smaller bins,” says John Hanig, bin sales director, Sukup Manufacturing Company, Sheffield, Iowa. “Farmers who are able to purchase and install a new, high-capacity grain bin system have nicer setups that can dump grain quicker and maintain grain quality better than commercial elevators could 15 years ago,” he says. “Our largest bin is now 156 ft. in diameter, with 1.54 million bushels of storage capacity and a 50k load-rated, clear-span roof.”

In January, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) presented Sukup with two awards for outstanding innovations. The awards were for the new Modular Tower Dryer and Triangle Aeration Duct.

“Our Triangle Aeration Duct enables you to aerate a hopper-bottom bin at deeper grain depths than was previously possible,” Hanig says. “It mounts on the hopper cone pattern, and its strength and airflow capabilities help it to withstand the weight and pressure from greater grain depths and provide greater grain quality than traditional round ducts.”

Sukup’s Modular Tower Dryer increases the cost-effectiveness for dryer setup and large-capacity heat/vacuum, cool grain drying. “(It) is designed for mid- to large-size farmers to provide a 1,000- to 1,500-bu./hr. drying capacity,” Hanig says. “It’s built in sections that can easily stack together on-site, so the erection time is less than a day. The advantage to the modular dryer is that you can put up a commercial-quality dryer quickly at a reasonable cost.”