1984 - Volume #8, Issue #2, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Converting Silos Into Grain BinsJohn Alexander, Fountain City, Ind., is a former dairyman who now grows continuous no-till corn. When he went out of the dairy business in 1975, he had three big silos ù two Harvestores and a concrete stave ù he didn't need anymore.
Like any good businessman, Alexander found a way to turn problems into assets. He converted the silos into big grain bins that now store 30,000 bu. of dried shelled corn.
"I had already stored high moisture corn in the Harvestores so I knew they could handle it but I had to aerate them," says Alexander. To convert the Harvestores, he cut a hole in the second sidewall sheet up from the ground ù the bottom sheets are usually double layered ù and ran an 8-ft. long aeration tube straight into the silo. A 3/4-hp. fan pumps air into the tube. At the top of the Harvestores, he removed the breather bags and mounted a gooseneck-shaped pipe coming out of the top that would let the air escape but keep moisture out. The Harvestores, 20 by 50 ft. and 20 by 27 ft., store 11,500 and 6,000 bu. of corn, respectively.
"Air flows in through the tube at the bottom and up to the top of the silo and out. We keep the fan on until about December when the grain cools off and has dropped from about 16% moisture to about 14% moisture," says Alexander.
He installed a 6-in. unloading auger in the bottom of the Harvestores. At first, he used the silage unloader but says it was slow and damaged the grain.
Converting the stave silo to dry corn storage was more complicated. First he had to add loops to the outside of the silo to strengthen it for the extra load. He then added a roof and removed the silo unloader. He made a hole in the side of the silo about 8 ft. from the bottom of the structure and installed an aeration tube that reaches into the silo, as in the Harvestores. He then cemented the floor, installing a 6-in. unloading auger. As on the other two silos, the fan is turned on as soon as the grain is loaded in from his batch dryer. Air flows up through the grain and out the top until the grain has cooled down. Unlike the Harvestores, however, there is a minor moisture problem with the stave silos.
"A little water creeps in through the sides when it rains but we've never lost more than 5 bu. of grain along the sides. We could coat the inside of the silo with a waterproofing seal and that would solve the problem. But the losses are so low that I don't see any reason to line the inside of the silo in any way."
The 20 by 50-ft. stave silo holds 13,000 bu. so his total storage between the three silos is about 30,000 bu. The three silos are connected to the batch dryer by an ingenious arrangement of augers so that the entire storage system is filled automatically.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Alexander, Rt. 1, Box 156, Fountain City, Ind. 47341 (ph 317 847-2630).
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