Storage woes | Farmers looking to hold onto crops are finding few bins at retailers
With a large crop expected this year, farmers are looking for additional space to store grain.
But finding new bins is tricky with bin manufacturers reporting low stock and inventory at retailers also running low.
“Our customer service group has been very busy specifically with the aeration side of our business,” said Twister and Grain Guard Bins sales manager Derek Johnson.
“Because farmers are now looking at keeping their crop in good condition … there’s been lots of questions on aeration and grain drying.”
Johnson said sales have been strong, and he’s seeing sales later than normal for Western Canada.
“We still got customers who are asking for bins,” Johnson said.
He said many customers are focused on larger storage bins.
“Farmers are asking for bigger storage for bigger bins. Whereas in the past you’d see farmers looking for 24 foot, 27 foot or 30 foot bins in diameter, where now they’re looking for 36 foot, 42 foot and 48 foot bins,” he said.
Jim Weeda, business manager of Westeel, said bin inventory at their retailers is running low, and they are moving bins between locations to meet demands.
“I would have to say, I don’t have any data to support this, but we got really busy starting towards the end of July,” he said.
“August and September have been very busy and compared to last year where we were just busy, since the end of July has been double compared to traditional in-season business. Retailers had stock to fill the demand, although I’m sure we could have sold more had we had the capacity.”
Minimal stock is also available at Meridian’s retailers, said sales manager Rob Reimer.
“(Sales) have been really strong for us,” Reimer said. “Demand (has) been really good.”
With grain bins and bags almost sold out, farmers may turn to storing product on the ground and they will need to take many to keep moisture out, said Daphne Cruise, a regional crop specialist in Moose Jaw, Sask.
“As far as storing on the ground, the best thing for them to do is if they sort of have a plywood or steel bin ring, that they could at least put the bottom into, that would be the most ideal situation,” Cruise said. “But a lot of them don’t have access to that so the best thing to do would be to tarp it as best as they can to keep any moisture out.”
Some producers put up guards, temporary fencing and straw or hay bales to keep wildlife away from the grain, she said.
Cruise added that some producers will put down a plastic sheet to keep the grain off the ground.
“A lot of producers find that when it comes time to cleaning the grain or auguring it out into a truck, it’s even more of a detriment. Some of that plastic can get caught up in the auger,” she said.
“It makes cleaning up a bit more difficult in that sense but it also is OK because any grain that they don’t use in the auger they can just fold it up into that plastic and dispose of it that way.”
Storing grain straight on the ground will result in spoiling the first few inches of crop in contact with the soil.
However, it would provide a place where moisture can escape rather than being held underneath the crop, said Cruise.