- The proposed solution is to to manufacture a reusable pallet mounted grain bin constructed from plastic culvert and pre made components for ease of assembly. Versatile Permanent storage provide opportunities to store small hi-value commodities with built-in dry down capabilities to protect and preserve quality in crops harvested at higher moisture making early harvest for quality reasons more profitable. The farmers involved in this project including project leader Sean O’Donnell of Rusted Rooster Farm in Parkman, Maine. Collaborating farmers include Sam Mudge of Grange Corner Farm in Lincolnville Maine, Dorn Cox of Tuckaway farm in Lee, New Hampshire and John Hutton of Coppal House Farm in Lee, New Hampshire. We plan to meet at MOFGA in Unity, Maine to network with other interested farmers and discuss the building plan, construction and operation of the pallet mounted plastic grain bin. After all plans are final I (Sean O’Donnell) will proceed with purchasing materials for bin construction including end caps, pallets, grain doors, perforated flooring and a 20 ’ plastic culvert to be sectioned into pieces, one for each participating farm. After all components have been purchased all farms will gather at Rusted Rooster Farm in Parkman Maine for construction of the bins.
After bins are constructed each farm will be provided with a grain sampling probe to properly sample grain for moisture content and grain quality. Participating farms already have moisture testers available for use in monitoring. Effectiveness will be measured in terms of cost of and ease of construction, grain loss due to spoilage, rodents, ease of grain drying, stacking and handling. Early April 2016. Project will start at farmer meeting it Unity.
April-May 2016 Project leader will purchase all materials and supplies for construction and monitoring.
June (after planting) 2016 meeting at Rusted Rooster Farm in Parkman for assembly.
July 2016 Bin will be presented at the annual grain walk at Rusted Rooster Farm hosted by Sean O’Donnell.
July 2016 November bins will be used at participating farms for various harvested crops, results will be individually monitored storage quality and ease of use for results at final report. Presentation and explanation for other interested farmers at Rusted Rooster Farm in Parkman at twilight meeting
At final report bin plans and gathered data will be posted on Farm Hack.com by Dorn Cox.
Bin plan and results as well as experience using will be presented by Sean O’Donnell at the annual Maine Grain Conference in Bangor Maine in march of 2017.
May 2016. Purchase Culvert caps from a company called caplugs, after finding out Culvert caps that size are not readily available. Caps arrived were kind of cheesy, we decided to use them for the the bottom but not the top and would suggest just using a piece of plywood for the bottom of the future.
October 2016 over the summer purchase the culvert, plastic pallets, and grain Gates. Also remembered how busy summer season gets and didn’t have a chance to work on it other than accumulating the supplies.
May 2017. Purchase perforated flooring from a company called McNichols who proved to be the cheapest source, it was very good quality, we ordered galvanized so that wouldn’t be a problem with rust in the future.
Fall 2017. After things not working out over the summer because of busy season for farmers, I decided to set a date of December 2nd and 3rd for bin Construction and who ever showed up could help.
December 2nd and 3rd I worked on the bins the 2nd and Dorn Cox showed up to help on the 3rd at the end of which Dorn was able to take home a mostly finished bin that he is going to finish at his house.
After some of the problems we ran into decided to finish Construction of the remaining three bins by myself so I can refine the process one bin at a time.
February March 2018 plan on constructing the remaining three bins soon as I get some space in a heated garage.
April May 2018 bins will be finished and available for pick up by the other farmers for testing and research over the summer of 2018 in addition to that I saved 1000 pounds of wheat at 15% moisture to start trialing before the season starts.
August 2018 results will be presented at rustedroosterfarm and you’ll grain walk or I can explain how it’s worked out so far and some of the construction process.
At the time of construction we decided on a slanted roof to shed rain snow it can also overhang to protect the grain gate from the elements. Because of that we had to cut the Culvert at an angle, we decided to use the same angle for the roof and the floor. By sectioning a culvert in four pieces we were able to cut it in half first, then cut the remaining two pieces at an angle to produce two pieces each with an angle on one side.
Cutting the Culvert on an angle presented to be more trouble than we thought I first used a piece of flashing to measure a 1 foot drop from 5’6″ to 6’6″ on the opposing side over the culvert. I bent the flashing around the culvert to use as a straight edge the problem with this method was it ended up with the Peak at the top High Valley at the bottom, after that we moved on to making a square out of wood they could be placed over the culvert and a straightedge traced up to the edge and We re cut it, after finding it was still not even enough for the roof to seal against it. From there we decided to cut a plug out of foam board to match the angle of the floor and the ceiling then put that inside of the culvert and spray-painted one side.
This proved to be the best method because then we were able to cut the cover from the inside and eliminate the Sawzall blade from waving up and down as it went through the different layers of the culvert at least we had a clean cut on the inside ceiling surface.
After which we were able to use the same plug to lay out on the perforated flooring and cut the oval to match the angle. Next we use two by fours has legs just support the floor cross members we laid the Culver on its side and pushed it up against a straight wall, which made it easy to climb inside and secure the stringers to match the first one then used a straight edge to make sure they were all even after which the floor was set on top and screwed down then the lower cap could be put on I use spray foam around the edge to seal it.
That’s is how far we got with the first couple of days what we plan to do next just got the door insecure the grain gate add a hinged roof that can be flipped back for drying and loading / unloading.
In retrospect it was probably a little optimistic to think that I would be able to arrange for all the farmers to get together in the same place all at once we all tend to have pretty busy schedules because of that I think it’s in the best interest of the project for the farmers it want to construct there bins the only one that opted to do that was Dorn. I will finish the other bins for the farmers to then come pick up and test over the summer, while allowing me to figure out the fastest way to construct them.
I also received a grant from the Maine grain alliance to construct a bin out of a infiltrator im-540 water tank which will be more expensive materials but easy to construct. I will post a comparison in the final report.
Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary
At Rusted Rooster Farm during the 2017 grain walk I showed the attendees the Culvert and the other Construction Supplies and outline to them the construction process.
I will also do a short update at the March 2018 Maine grain conference with some pictures maybe short video.
August 2018 I will present the working model at my annual grain walk including a demonstration on how it works and usability.
I also plan on posting all the videos of how to Construction on my YouTube channel which is rustedroosterfarm.
The main lessons gleaned was that it’s very hard to get four farmers with busy schedules in one place at one time. Also another major challenge was figuring out how to get the culvert cut at a smooth angle.
We have not got to use the bins yet we should have a lot more information on this section after a summer’s worth of use and will report back then
I think the largest obstacle was trying to get so many farmers to work together in hindsight it might have just been easier to just build good prototype bins for an example and not worry so much about trying to get everybody schedule to match.
I expect to have a lot to add in this category after using the bins for summer