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Straw Bale Grain Bins
"I got the idea from my dad," says Francis Kinze, about the straw bale "grain bins" he erected last summer to store a bumper crop of barley and oats on his farm near Pike Lake, Sask.
Kinze says he's seen other farmers use a wide variety of materials for building outdoor bins but that he's seen nothing that works better than bales of straw.
"They seal themselves tight so grain doesn't leak out and they're flexible enough not to break apart when they bend," he says. "We don't have to line the bales with anything and they hold well enough so we can put them up on both flat and uneven ground."
Kinze first dumps 300 to 400bu. of grain on the spot he chooses for his grain bin. He then lays the first row of bales around that grain, lying end to end on their sides. He wraps the bales with two strands of barbed wire, pulling it tight. More grain is then loaded into the bin, filling to the top of the first row of bales. A second row of bales is laid on top and tied with two strands of wire, and then the rest of the grain is augered in. Kinze says the wire should be pulled as tight as possible because the circle of bales will push out somewhat as it's loaded. He doesn't connect the two rows of bales top to bottom.
"We made several bale rings to store grain. Most were about 20 bales around, and either 2 or 3 bales high. The 2-bale ringshold 8,000 to 9,000 bu. of grain while the 3-bale rings hold 12,000 to 15,000 bu. They could be built smaller or larger," says Kinze. He's running the barley and oats through a grinder this winter to feed to livestock, so he didn't bother to cover the grain. He runs the grain and snow, and sometimes even the bales, through the grinder together.

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #1