Grain bins are essential parts of many of the thousands of grain farms and agribusinesses that dot the countryside around the U.S. They’re also prone to severe, costly damage like that caused by the August 2020 derecho that moved through much of the Midwest. Such storms have a range of implications for farmers and grain elevator and facility managers when bad weather strikes.
New grain bin construction options help mitigate this damage and bolster overall resilience on the farms and grain facilities that house them. That resilience is key to sustaining grain farms and agribusinesses well into the future.
Mitigating storm damage to grain bins and their valuable contents is a big part of farm risk management. If your customers’ grain storage buildings are vulnerable to damage from severe weather like high winds, the BinStrongSM awareness campaign from Nationwide helps farm and agribusiness owners and operators understand the benefits of building stronger, higher wind speed-rated grain bins.
Why stronger bins are so important
Winds above 90 mph are common with severe thunderstorms in much of the country during the spring, summer and fall months. But that’s also the threshold for conventional grain bins and the wind speeds they can withstand without incurring damage. Geography and age of existing grain storage infrastructure are key variables in identifying the operations most vulnerable to grain bin damage or failure from high winds.
Such storm damage doesn’t just create the need to repair or replace damaged grain bins. Farmers with damaged bins around harvest or during key grain marketing timeframes face both logistical and marketplace challenges that can lead to lost revenue. For example, without on-farm grain storage, a farmer may be forced to sell or deliver grain immediately at harvest. Especially in years like 2020 when the corn prices swung by around $2 per bushel, lost grain storage could mean lost revenue.
Downstream risks of grain bin damage or loss
If a grain farm and its grain storage are tied to a livestock operation, or livestock is the primary market target for all grain produced, lost grain bins and storage capacity can create logistical hurdles in a farmer’s ability to sustain a consistent livestock feed supply. It can also add to the cost to sustain livestock if other feed sources must make up for the grain lost in a bin damaged by high winds or other severe weather.
New grain bins that are rated to withstand wind speeds of up to 120 mph can help mitigate the damage higher winds can cause. Doing so doesn’t just prevent damage to a farmer or agribusiness owner’s grain bins themselves, but preserves the quality of the grain they hold, ultimately contributing to grain marketing flexibility and maximum value in delivering it to the marketplace.
Strong bins are a smart investment
Bins with higher wind ratings are similar to standard grain bins but feature internal vertical steel supports to add rigidity. This does add to the cost of the bin. But considering the cost of lost or damaged grain, it’s normally justifiable, especially when a farmer or agribusiness owner plans to replace or add new bins anyway.