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  1. #1
    Bronze Member 59 Sons's Avatar
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    Default Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    New wave homesteader here. I would like to design and build a 10 X 12 shed for bulk grain storage, and would appreciate feed back and ideas.
    To start, I would like to accomodate up to a ton each of 4 or 5 grains, in 3foot by 4foot bins, the height of the shed. Im picturing the 12 foot wall broken up into 4 sections like stalls, extending 4 feet into the shed. The rest of the floor space used for pallets of bagged grains. The bins would be lined with FRP and sealed in the corners. The floors would be lined with a sheet metal pan, sloped to the front. Some sort of slide door on the front of each bin that dumps into a trough that I can shovel out.
    Heres the wild idea: I was thinking of making the whole shed roof hinged at the front, so I can lift the whole roof with the tractor, support it with dead men, and lift the ton bags up to the back edge of the shed and dump them in to the bins from the top.... Heeheehee.
    Issues Ive thought about:
    Weight- 2X6 construction, plywood in and out, and between bins.
    Moisture- line everything with FRP, caulk all joints. Wrap frame with visquene (sp?) before insulating and sheathing. Make a weather tight seal between roof and walls.
    Bugs and rodents- super tight construction, wrap all potential chew points with sheet metal. Purge bins with CO2 regularly, seal tight. Store bagged grains in plastic barrels, purged with nitrogen.

    Have I missed anything?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member hunterridgefarm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Sounds good. I would store the bagged grains in metal barrels if possible. Around here rats can chew a hole in a plastic barrel in no time.
    I suffer from MPD...Multiple Project Disorder

  3. #3
    Super Star Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Does the purging with CO2 and N prevent mold? With all that sealing up, I would be concerned about trapped moisture.

    With temperature changes, the air can move through the dew point releasing condensation. I think controlling the moisture content/drying of the grain would be critical.

    It might be easier to get the grain in perfect condition, then put it in directly in sealed containers, evacuate the air and add N, or whatever the process is. Palletize everything. This would make the shed easier to construct since its only job then is to keep the sealed containers out of the weather.

    If you want to build a roof that opens, I wouldn't plan on using the FEL to lift it. The roof is moving in an arc as it rises, the FEL is going straight up or actually moving in the other direction horizontally. Think about using counterbalancing weights such that the weight of the roof is almost neutral maybe? Then you could raise and lower by hand with much greater control. A box of rocks or barrel of concrete doesn't cost much.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."
    When there is a huge solar energy spill, it is called a "nice day"!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Are you doing this to feed animals? Grain stored in bulk will mold unless properly preconditioned. Short term storage if you are feeding the grain may not be a problem. For human use moisture should be as low as possible and air removed. Co2 (dry ice) is a way to purge the air and kill critters. Small amounts stored seperately may be your best bet.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Where are you getting ton bags of grains?

    When I was younger, we used to buy bulk wheat or barley to feed the pigs. In a corner of the barn, we built an 8x8x4 bin out of plywood & 4x4's. I don't remember how many tons it held, but a few. I think someone would come and auger it into the bin from a bulk truck (through a window we cut into the wall of the barn).

    We would then scoop it into a hammermill, and then blow the ground grain into a stepped bin on the other side of the barn where it had an upper storage area, and about a 4x4 lower area, with enough of an opening to scoop it out with a shovel or bucket.

    The hammermill made dust like crazy.

    Anyway, we had lots of mice, but always had more grain than they could possibly eat. I don't remember moisture ever being a problem. The bins were all open on top, inside a quite a drafty barn. Of course, it was all for pig food, and we'd go through a bin full a year or so.

    Anyway, a lot would depend on your ultimate goals for the grains. Planting? Your own consumption? Feeding Livestock? Selling flour?

    You may be able to make welded steel bins that would keep most critters out (except wheat/flour weevils). You'd have to check with FDA regulations if you are selling flour for human consumption.

    A bit drafty is good for the summer.
    If you can seal it in the winter, you may add a dehumidifier.

    Ahhh, your in the Northwest, so you should have wet winters, dry summers.

    If you are doing your own bulk hauling, you might consider making a trailer with a bin and auger that can handle a ton or so of grain. Or, is it coming from your own fields?

  6. #6
    Bronze Member 59 Sons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Thank you all for the responses. The grain is for personal and animal consumption. I would like to crack and mix my own chicken feed by the barrel sized batch. We are on the east side of the Cascades, so our anual precip is about 14-18", so we are quite dry to begin with. However I am mostly concerned with condensation in the cold, thus the reason for insulating the shed, and mabe conditioning it so it doesnt get too cold. How do I dry the grain efectively? I was hoping that it would be dry enough from the local grain elevator, and that I would just have to keep it that way, thus the visquene and FRP. I know the CO2 will only kill bugs, but wont nitrogen displace air along with the moisture in it? Of course the bins wont be TOTALY air tight, but close, I hope. Would a dehumidifyer in the middle of the shed work? I just hope to avoid having to put everything in 55 gal drums.
    I like the idea of a levered roof mechanism, I will definitely explore that. But I only envision the roof lifting about 3-4' or mabe 45*
    The local elevator will fill a 1 ton poly bag on a pallet in a trailer or pickup.
    I hope Ive answered all the questions. Thankyou, and keep them coming. Im not going to give up on the idea, Im sure that with everyones help, I can find a solution for the obstacles.

  7. #7
    Super Star Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    This sounds way over-complicated.

    What you are proposing is a cross between prepping/survivalist and animal husbandry/farming. Which is it, or both?, that you are aiming at? I don't think the two have a common practical solution.

    The grain from the elevator should be at a moisture level that prevents spoilage. So, yes you need to maintain that moisture level. The way it worked that I am familiar with is, if the grain delivered to the elevator from the field has too high of a moisture level, then the farmer gets docked so many cents per bushel for two reasons: the elevator doesn't want to pay for water and they have to dry the grain to the correct moisture level.

    The scale of your grain storage and handling needs to be in proportion to the number of chickens, etc., that you are feeding.

    A barrel of wheat berries makes a lot of bread, and will be quite old by the time you use all of it unless you are baking for a large number of people. Say an average loaf takes 3-1/2 cups of flour, that's about 2-1/2 cups of berries before milling. I have no idea how many cups of berries are in a barrel, but it's a few.

    I don't think you should give up, just try to refine your goals. Mentally walk through making a batch of chicken feed. Get some rough idea of your annual grain needs. Where is all of this CO2 and N coming from and at what cost?
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Quote Originally Posted by dave1949 View Post
    This sounds way over-complicated.

    What you are proposing is a cross between prepping/survivalist and animal husbandry/farming. Which is it, or both?, that you are aiming at? I don't think the two have a common practical solution.

    The grain from the elevator should be at a moisture level that prevents spoilage. So, yes you need to maintain that moisture level. The way it worked that I am familiar with is, if the grain delivered to the elevator from the field has too high of a moisture level, then the farmer gets docked so many cents per bushel for two reasons: the elevator doesn't want to pay for water and they have to dry the grain to the correct moisture level.

    The scale of your grain storage and handling needs to be in proportion to the number of chickens, etc., that you are feeding.

    A barrel of wheat berries makes a lot of bread, and will be quite old by the time you use all of it unless you are baking for a large number of people. Say an average loaf takes 3-1/2 cups of flour, that's about 2-1/2 cups of berries before milling. I have no idea how many cups of berries are in a barrel, but it's a few.

    I don't think you should give up, just try to refine your goals. Mentally walk through making a batch of chicken feed. Get some rough idea of your annual grain needs. Where is all of this CO2 and N coming from and at what cost?
    For simplification keep your food stuff and animal feed stock seperate. The Co2 will do for both critters and air displacement. Cheaper if you only use it for the home use stock. I believe you will find that small batch feed mixing will be more expensive than complete ration commercially available. Some Co-ops will mix to your specifications.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    What are the intended 4 or 5 grains?

    For animal feed, you may choose to simplify to one or two grains. Perhaps feed one grain to your animals, and have much smaller storage containers available in the house for your own consumption. If you choose to something like soybean meal (or presscake) for a protein supplement, you may need a lot less of it, so you may not want equal sized containers.

    There were a couple of grades of wheat available. For the hog feed, we would always buy the cheapest (high moisture content, sprouted). Like I said, I don't remember mold being an issue, on the "rainy side of the mountains".

    Steel will have much more condensation issues than wood, but if metal is inside a building, perhaps coated on the outside with sprayfoam, it might not be too bad.

    I think you are making this far too complicated with the Nitrogen and Dry ice, but it might be good to estimate how long the bins are intended to last. One year? A few months? Several years?

    Anyway, if I was doing animal feed again, I would probably do something similar to what we had with open top plywood bins, and not worry too much about a few mice or critters. Cover the containers if you wish.

    The augers would be easier to deal with than a fancy crane setup, although if you have the grain in super sized bags, you will have to figure out how to dump into the auger. Thus a small bulk trailer would be nice. I'm just thinking of many uses for my trailer fertilizer spreader. Add a dumping method, and it could easily be made into a 1-2 ton grain hauling trailer, if I needed that. Potentially it could be configured for multi-use (fertilizer, grain, etc).

    You can always fill the pantry in the house with fresh grain every time you get a delivery of livestock grain.

  10. #10
    Bronze Member 59 Sons's Avatar
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    Default Re: Homestead Grain Storage Shed

    Thank you all for the reality check. Here is my rationale: The multigrain feeds I am seeing for chickens and pigs are $.50 a pound, the cheapest chick grower is about $.26 a pound. Currently at my elevator, wheat is $.20 and barley is $.19 a pound. This fall after harvest, they will be considerably less. I would like to stock up on corn, wheat, barley, oats, and peas or lentils each harvest, and have at least a years supply for 60 chickens, 2 pigs, 3 breeding rabits with 4 litters a year, and 2 meat goats. I know not all of these animals eat grain exclusively, but it adds up. I would like to leave it whole grain for longevity, and process and mix it in small batches. And yes, I would be eating it too. I am currently getting wheat in 50# bags and keeping it in a 55 gal drum. I haent done any calculations, but we seem to be coing thru it reasonably quickly, although in comparison, we are probably going to be the lowest consumers on the homestead.
    I am a refer tech, so I always have cylinders of CO2 and Nitrogen on my truck. I just send a tube to the bottomm of a barrel and let 'er rip for a few seconds, then close it up.
    I guess I just have a problem paying Purina or whoever for something I think I can do myself at mabe half the cost. It seems the most prohibitive factors are storage space and time, both of which I have plenty. As the cost of living has skyrocketed, I was face with the choice of make more money OR spend less money. I chose to go part time, sell my fancy house, and live a primitive existence on a cash basis. I am proudly downwardly mobile. I know you werent asking for my shpeal, but there it is. Speech over.
    So anyway, I am attracted to having a substantial storage system, and would like to at least attempt to gring thru the obstacles. I think I can accomplish pest control, and the loading logistics. My biggest concern is moisture control. If I have to keep my foodstuffs seperate I will, but Im not ready to give up on the ideal.
    Thanks again for the responses.

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