When Roy Breneman, Clayton, added an 8,000-bushel Circle Steel grain bin to his existing grain center in 1962, he more than doubled his storage capacity. He built his first 1,000-bushel bin in 1952 and added a 6,000-bushel bin in the late 1950s.
“Our grandfather told Dad that he would never live long enough to see him fill that 8,000-bushel bin,” says Roy’s son Bob, chuckling. Instead, Roy, who passed away in 2016, was ready for another bin by the late 1960s — this one an 11,000-bushel Circle Steel bin. On-farm grain storage was “here to stay.”
Bob returned to the farm in 1973 after graduating high school. His brother Alan returned sometime later. Today, Bob and his son Adam, and Alan and Alan’s son Mark operate the farm. Their 500,000-bushel grain center on the home farm consists of two 48-foot-diameter, 10-ring bins; a 48-foot-diameter, 14-ring bin; a 60-foot-diameter, 20-ring bin; a 60-foot-diameter, 24-ring bin; and a 29,000-bushel wet tank.
Corn is dried in a GSI Extreme two- stack, continuous-flow dryer. Fans are reversed on opposite ends to help improve heat recovery. Although at one time they moved grain from bin to bin by rooftop augers, those are gone; they now use conveyors. The system includes two legs.
“We can dry 30,000 bushels in 24 hours if corn is about 24% moisture,” Bob says. “We run a 12-row corn head, and we can harvest that much corn on a good day. The system meets our needs. Alan and I believe we have the grain system about where it needs to be. If more needs to be done later, it will be up to the next generation.”
Only corn is stored at the main grain center. The Brenemans have other storage bins on other farms that they can use to store soybeans if they choose to do so, Bob says.
Grow over time
The Breneman grain center didn’t go from a few bins in the late ’60s to what it is today overnight. As farming changed and they added acres, the grain center evolved, too.
“Dad made the first big changes in 1976, adding a used batch dryer, a grain leg and the first 48-foot bin,” Bob says. “We added another 48-foot bin in the early ’80s and converted that 8,000-bushel bin Grandpa said Dad would never fill to wet holding. We filled and emptied it every day.”
The 60-foot, 20-ring bin adding 145,000 bushels of storage came around 2009 as their storage needs increased.
“Alan and I started our last round of big changes in 2012,” Bob says. They extended the original leg, added a GSI leg and added a second 60-foot bin holding 170,000 bushels.
“That’s when we finally took out the 8,000-bushel ‘you will never fill it’ bin,” Bob recalls. That bin served a purpose in the system for roughly 50 years. They replaced it with a much larger, wet holding bin to feed the new two-stack dryer.
“We’re happy, and it helps us be efficient, even though it was added to over time, and there wasn’t one grand plan in the beginning,” Bob says. “Our needs changed drastically over time.”
Their goal is to move corn from the dryer to the 48-foot bins first, and then to the largest bins, treating them as storage bins. The large bins are cored frequently to remove fines in the center.