2004 - Volume #28, Issue #5, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
They're Turning Old Silos Into Cash
That's an ad we spotted recently in the back of a farm publication. We decided to find out what an old silo is worth.
We found out that getting a good price is tough. "We're hardly paying anything for cement stave silos unless they are in exceptionally good condition," says Fred Gorgenson, co-owner of Midwest Silo. "They have to be very clean, not coated in rust or with a rusty roof."
Buyers of used silos want them to look new, he points out. He also stresses that they have to be 16 by 60-ft. or bigger to be worth taking down.
Size is important with used Harvestore silos, too. Frank Possessky is the president of Penn Jersey Products, the largest independent Harvestore dealer in North America. "Years ago, the average dairy herd was 50 to 60. Now it's 100 head and more," he points out. "The demand in silos new and used is for 20 by 80-ft. and larger. There is very little demand for smaller ones."
Penn Jersey will pay $5,000 to $10,000 for a silo with loader, depending on size, condition and location. Size is equally important for Slurrystores, though the market is much better than for silos. Government regulations on manure storage are driving more livestock operators to above-ground seasonal storage.
Both men warn farmers to be very careful should they find a buyer for a silo of any kind. "The biggest concern is insurance, both liability and workers comp," says Gorgenson.
"Insist on seeing a certificate of insurance from whoever you are doing business with," says Possessky. "If you have a guy working on your farm without worker's compensation and one of his employees gets hurt, you are actually liable. And be sure you get paid for the structure before they turn a single bolt."
Buying a used silo can be equally tricky, especially if it's a Harvestore, he adds. "Some guys are using them as conventional silos, putting holes in them and top unloaders," warns Possessky. "They were not designed to be used that way."
Even putting up a used Harvestore for its traditional bottom unloader use can be tricky, he says. "Both the concentricity of the structure, that is the circle, and the level floor are measured in hundredths of an inch," says Possessky. "Once the concrete is poured, you can't fix it. A lot of guys have been misled on used structures. How they are put up can affect the integrity of the structure and its ability to unload."
Brand can make a big difference in stave silos, advises Gorgenson. In his area, he says his own Midwest brand is pretty good, as are Rochester brand staves, although as they get older, they can get weaker. He says Madison is a very good brand, but it should never be put under ground.
"Know what brand is being offered and check the staves over," says Gorgenson. "Deal with a reputable firm that has been in business for a long time and has certain standards they go by."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Frank Possessky, Penn Jersey Products, Inc., P.O. Box 7, New Holland, Pa. 17557 (ph 717 354-4051; email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or Fred Gorgenson, Midwest Silo, Highway 133 E., Box 115, Boscobel, Wis. 53805 (ph 608 553-5085).
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