Samantha Scantlebury


Grain silos and grain bins can come in all different shapes and sizes, depending on a farm’s needs. There is no right or wrong bin, since many factors come into play when selecting one that’s right for your farm.

However, if you are storing your grain on-farm, it’s important to remember that dimensions of the bin will play a role in the natural air drying process and grain management

Take a look at the two scenarios below. Both bins have the same volume capacity. But the different dimensions impact airflow resistance and affect energy costs from fan run hours and delivery date. In this example, all other factors are consistent between the two bins except for dimensions.

  BIN 1 (48' diameter) BIN 2 (36' diameter)
Volume 26,161 21,161
Fan used 1 30HP 1750 rpm Centrifugal 1 30HP 1750 rpm Centrifugal
Airflow rate 0.93 cfm/bu 0.87 cfm/bu
2015 Drying Cost (c/bu) 5.2 cents/bu 6.3 cents/bu
2015 Total Drying Cost $1,354.79 $1,646.05
2015 Drying Duration 614 fan hours 746 fan hours
End Date 2015 – November 9
2014 – November 7
2013 – November 11
2012 – November 14
2011 – November 10
2015 – November 28
2015 – January 18
2013 – December 28
2012 – December 6
2011 - November 19
  • Location: Waterloo, IA
  • Corn; Initial MC 18.0%; Target MC 15.0%
  • Harvest date: September 20

The deeper the grain, the more airflow resistance occurs. As a result, fans work harder for greater periods of time, resulting in a 1.1 cent/bu increase in cost and later dates when all the grain was at target ready to take to market. In 2014, the end date between the two sizes of bins would have differed by over two months.

Whether you want just bin monitoring capabilities or are interested in bin automation technologies, IntelliFarms recommends working with a representative. Together, you can discuss ideal airflow for your bin size and the kinds of strategies needed to reach your grain moisture and delivery date goals. Our mission is to give you the insight and resources you need to be effective and cost-efficient. Contact us to discuss setting up your grain silo or grain bin for success this year. Or check out our grain management systems like BinManager or BinCheck.