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Railroad Tank Car Seed Storage
Two issues ago we told you about a Michigan farmer who made a state-of-the-art, giant capacity dump pit by burying a railroad box car near his grain storage bins (Vol. 16, No. 1). After that story ran we heard about Illinois farmer Joseph Burt who buried a railroad LP tank car on his farm to provide air-tight, temperature controlled seed storage.
Burt, who farms near Flora, is a commercial grass seed producer. He needed a way to store seed that would retain germination for up to 30 months. In the past he experienced a rapid fall-off in germination with conventional storage. He likes to sell his pasture seed direct and needed to protect the quality.
"I needed more even temperature and a way to control humidity," says Burt, noting that the tank is air tight and he modified it so he can fit it with a vacuum pump so seed can be kept in a vacuum.
The tank is 65 ft. long and 10 ft. in dia. It'll hold 20,000 lbs. of bagged seed.
The bottom of the tank is about 15 ft. below ground level since the tank is covered by about 6 ft. of soil. He selected a hillside location with drain tile running to it. "I wanted to avoid any chance of ground water floating the tank out," says Burt, who just buried the tank last fall and is still in the initial stages of his "experiment".
"What I'm shooting for is a year-round interior temperature of from 50 to 60 degrees with a humidity of 50 percent or less," he explains.
The tank was delivered to the farm on a flatbed trailer and unloaded by two large cranes.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Joseph Burt, Rt. 1, Box 232, Flora, Ill. 62839 (ph 618 662-4040).

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1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3