From Field to Silo: The Role of Grain Elevators in Agriculture

Posted: February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

When a farmer harvests a big field of wheat, it doesn’t just automatically hit the supermarket shelves as flour, cereal, or any of your other favorite wheat-based products. The wheat doesn’t even go directly to food production companies. Before a grain of wheat ever actually becomes anything, chances are it’s going to spend some time in a grain elevator. These structures serve not only as a temporary storage facility, but they also play a role in helping farmers get the best prices for their grain. This article will explain the process grain goes through at the grain elevator.

After harvesting, the grain leaves the farm in a large truck headed toward a grain elevator. At the grain elevator, the truck first is weighed on a large, heavy-duty scale. After recording the weight of the truck with the full load, the grain is then dumped through grates down into a receiving pit. After unloading the grain, the truck is then weighed again to determine the weight of the offloaded grain. After sampling the offloaded grain to determine the quality and the moisture and extraneous content, the personnel at the grain elevator give the farmer a scale ticket representing the amount and type of grain offloaded.

At this point, the farmer has the option of selling this grain right away or paying to have the grain stored at the elevator until grain prices are more favorable, at which point the farmer can then sell the stored grain. This allows farmers to immediately process their harvest while retaining the ability to get the best market price for their product.

After the grain has been offloaded into the pit, it is moved by a bucket elevator up to the opening at the top of a storage silo, where it is deposited for storage until the time comes that it is moved to another location for processing and use. Companies like Cambelt offer a number of types of bucket elevators for moving bulk materials to a higher level. These bucket elevators consist of cuplike projections attached to a conveyor belt. The elevator scoops up the grain from the initial offloading pit and moves it up to the silo, usually in an enclosed shaft, protecting the grain from contamination.

If you drive through any agricultural area of the United States, you’re likely to see several grain elevators alongside the roads among the fields. Now you have a better idea of the purpose of these structures.

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