Grain storage on the move

FARGO, ND — A 4,000 bushel bin may not seem significant. But if it’s mobile, with 14 big tires and its own 900 bushel per minute unload auger, it might come in handy at harvest.

That’s what Walkabout Mother Bins is all about, said Katie Hansen, sales representative for USAKanagroo, the company in Webster, South Dakota, that builds the big mobile bins.

“This is not a grain cart,” said Hansen. “It sits still at the end of your field and the grain carts empty into it and then your semis load out of it. When that field is done and the Mother Bin is empty, you simply move it to the next field.

“Harvest equipment is getting bigger. Bigger combines. Bigger grain carts. So to keep up with the higher capacity, farmers end up buying more trucks and hiring more drivers. The movable bin is a low-cost alternative to buying trucks and hiring drivers.”

One Big Mother is the brainchild of Australian Dave Hedt, where the big bin method has been used for years. The general lack of ditches and utility poles mean these giant bins can easily move from field to field. North America is a different situation.

“My boss realized it was going to be difficult manoeuvring these things in and out of fields, so he put steering tires on the bin,” said Hansen.

“The front axle is self-steering. It just follows the tractor when it’s in transit. But the rear steering tires are hydraulically controlled from the tractor cab. The operator can make the tail of the bin go wherever he wants it. That makes it easier to park it where you want it. It’s not plumbed into the tractor steering. It’s a separate hydraulic circuit.”

The 22-inch unload auger has an adjustable spout. There’s a rear access door and full-length cleanout doors. The bin weighs 35,000 pounds empty. It’s 58 feet long, 14 feet wide and 13 feet high.

Options include scales, external scale display, remote auger shutoff, and a vibrator system for products like high moisture corn that might bridge. It requires a minimum of 200 horsepower.

Hansen said the new company has built and sold five units to date. List price is US$119,000.

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