Farm Progress

Farmer uses grain storage rings for additional space.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

December 9, 2014

3 Min Read

All commodity market signals point toward storing grain this year. That may be easier said than done.

While farmers may enjoy looking at yield monitors tick higher as they run across the field, they are not as excited to see the market price trend lower. It is hard to settle for selling corn at the USDA's projected $3.25 per bushel when just two years ago, corn farmers were realizing $8 per bushel. So some farmers want to hold grain and see if or when the markets improve.

Realizing record numbers

However, finding space to store this year's crop is hard to come by. As of Nov. 10, Missouri corn production is forecast at 603 million bushels, 38% above last year. That is an average of 181 bushels per acre. The yields are far surpassing the previous 2004 corn record of 467 million bushels.


RINGSIDE: Short-term grain storage rings can hold from 5,555 bushels up to 120,600 bushels. The Gronefelds have three rings which boosts their total grain storage capacity to 117,000 bushels.

Even soybeans, a crop that is difficult to store for long periods, are filling on-farm storage bins. While wet weather and disease presence in Missouri affected some fields, soybeans are still on track for a stellar season. Soybean production is forecast at 252 million bushels, up 25% from 2013. If realized, it too, will be a record high soybean production year for the state.

Missouri's on-farm storage capacity sits at roughly 450 million bushels for all crops. Off-farm storage is estimated at roughly 220 million bushels. The bottom line: there is not enough storage for the 2014 crop.

BIG CROP: Finding space for the additional bushels coming out of fields this year can be tricky. Garrett (left), Don and Shane Gronefeld elected to use temporary grain storage rings for their crops in St. Charles County.

Grain elevators are running out of space with many erecting temporary storage facilities on site. And farmers are following suit.

New look of on-farm storage

"With the price of corn now, we had to do something in order to hopefully get a higher price down the road," says Shane Gronefeld, a farmer from St. Charles. So Shane, who farms with his father, Don, and brother, Garrett, erected temporary storage in their bottom ground along the Missiouri River in St. Charles County.

"This is the first time we have stored grain down here," says Don. His family has been farming land in this area since 1916.

The Gronefelds opted for grain storage rings. Garrett traveled to Lincoln, Neb., to pick up three ring systems. "I would have put up one big one, but we have separate landlords," he explains. The smaller units allow him to place them on different farms, depending on the year and the need.

Last month, there were just two rings in place. The largest grain storage ring is 90-foot and holds 55,000 bushels. An additional 77-foot ring holds 36,000 bushels. The family also has a 70-foot ring that holds 26,000 bushels that Garrett says will be erected "when needed."

The storage rings come with two tarps--one for underneath the pile and the other for on top. Set up can be quick, according to Shane. "The first ring was up in a day," he says. However, when wet weather moved into the area, pulling the 90-foot water-soaked tarp did take a little more time and manpower.

The units cost roughly 24 cents per bushel. "We had to do something with the price of corn half of what it has been," Garrett adds. "This seemed like a good option for our operation."

They expect to hold the crops under the tarp until spring--or until prices recover.


About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like