Media contacts: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237, firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/6/2011) —Storms that hit hard across southwestern Minnesota late last week have left many farmers with damaged grain bins. It's important to find alternative grain storage facilities. Grain left uncovered in the rain will deteriorate rapidly.
The first action should be to call your insurance agent so the loss can be documented and the process of replacement begun. Your insurance agent should also be able to tell you if your coverage includes temporary storage at another location if your damaged bin had grain in it.
Damaged bins are very hard to salvage if twisted to any degree. If empty of grain and not twisted too badly, selected panels can be replaced. The concrete pad under the bin is usually salvageable, but it's necessary to clear the metal bin off the top of the pad before putting a new one up. The old bin metal should be recycled because there is value in the metal. Take it to a scrap yard if possible.
What can you do for storage of grain that was in the damaged bins? Gary Hachfeld, University of Minnesota Extension ag business management educator, said, "First, if the grain has already been marketed, check with your elevator and ask if you can deliver the crop in the bin even though it was not due for delivery until later." Hachfeld also notes that, for unmarketed grain, farmers may choose to simply price to sell the grain now and get it out of the way. It also might be possible to contract with the elevator for storage if need be, although paying commercial storage is expensive.
If the corn grain is for feed, follow the same recommendations. "Try to find storage at the elevator or from a neighbor, If that is not available, explore the possibility of grain bags for the feed grain," Hachfeld said.
To clean up the grain on the ground, consider hiring a commercial grain vac services. Another alternative is grain storage bags, which are much like the silage bags seen on farms. There may be custom operators in your area that can help.
Another alternative is to check with neighbors who may have undamaged bins and
are not farming. They might be willing to rent the bins to someone who did have damaged bins. Grain can also be stored for a short time in flat storage, such as a machine shed. There must be soil drain tile placed in the grain at intervals so air can be passed through the grain to keep it in good shape.
To view a University of Minnesota slideshow about temporary grain storage, visit http://z.umn.edu/3x6. North Dakota State University Extension also has temporary grain storage information online at http://bit.ly/pkxiPp.