“binning” the grain

IMG_4355There’s two ways to get rid of the grain once it leaves the field.  Once the combine(s) have dumped and the truck is full, the grain will either head for the elevator or to a grain bin (On-Farm Storage). My favorite, of course, is to the elevator.

Hauling to the elevator is the easiest method on the truck driver. Pull up to the scale, weigh the truck, proceed to the pit. Someone opens the back-end of the truck and watches the grain empty into the pit. When the truck is empty, you proceed back to the scale to be weighed and remain there until someone brings out a ticket. The ticket is the farmer’s receipt showing how much grain was left at the elevator. It also has all the statistics of the load – moisture, any foreign matter, protein, the farmer’s name and any other I.D. Sometimes I have to make sure and include a farm name/number or a landlord’s name. The ticket is a contract, of sorts, between the elevator and the farmer.

IMG_4375One day, I made a trip to Moccasin to dump Frank. The worst part of that whole trip was just the distance. This is a really nice facility and a good one to have to dump the grain into.

Binning the grain (On-Farm Storage), however, is a little more physical for the trucker. It’s dirty, usually very warm and requires movement in and out of the truck and tractor. By the end of the day, I certainly feel like I’ve done something! Who needs a workout regimen when you have this sort of activity?


When a bin is close to being full, someone has to climb to the top and watch. What are they watching for? To make sure the bin doesn’t overfill and start spilling. I suggest not looking down when you’re climbing the ladder.

IMG_0136The tractor acts as the power source for the auger. There is a PTO (power take off) shaft located at the back of the tractor. When the auger’s drive shaft is connected to the PTO, it creates the motion of augering the grain from the pit, through the auger to the grain bin.

After the bins are filled, the farmer will have to empty them at some point and take the grain to the elevator. Either the farmer will do this job himself (if he has a semi) or he will hire a truck and driver.  A couple of reasons a farmer will keep grain on the farm in bins is:

1. To be able to keep the grain around and play the markets.

2. If a farmer has a big crop and the elevator is 60+ miles away, this allows the trucks to remain in or near the fields and enables the combines to keep harvesting the grain. If the elevator is that far away, it’s just more convenient to store in the bin regardless of how big (or small) it is. The problem with this year’s crop in Denton was the bins were filling fast and the farmer had to figure out how to get rid of the excess.  A very good problem to have to deal with.

IMG_4458The headlights of the truck waiting to dump act as the only source of light at times.

IMG_4457The sun setting over the mountains. Square Butte is on the horizon.

photo (2)

This is what we were doing on our final day in the fields in Denton – unloading the combines in the field, driving to a point in the field where the auger was set up to unload in the semi. The driver of the semi took his full truck to Moccasin to dump and returned to the field for more.

Did you catch the comment about our final day in Denton? The combine has been loaded and hauled to Jordan. It feels like we’re home again!

2 comments on ““binning” the grain

  1. […] I went back to the Cottage to get Jim’s lunch. While we cut in Montana, the wheat is either hauled to a grain bin for storage or semi’s are hired to haul the grain to the nearest elevator. The nearest […]

  2. […] those of you who know nothing about how the unloading goes, I’ll try to explain. The red auger carries the wheat that’s coming from the back of […]

Comments are closed.