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Just saw 2 of 2 ring 14' butler grain bins on an upcoming auction. The lucky purchaser of these could look forward to shovelling almost every single bushel out every time, and moving an auger at least 3 times just to fill or empty a Super B.

And there are yards full of bins that are much wider than they are tall from years past. I saw a big diameter (~24 feet) that had walls barely taller than the door the other day. Neighbor has dozens of 1300 bushel 3 ring bins all lined up. If you want a 4 ring 19' westeel, they seem to have been the most common size 19' back in their day.

So were the original owners of these bins really big fans of a scoop shovel? Did they have lots of kids with strong backs and weak minds? Were they too cheap to buy an auger taller than what was used to fill the wooden bins they replaced? Or were these just the natural progression from the wooden bins, kept the same capacity?

By the time you buy a door and roof and build a floor, buy some gravel, spend the labour setting it up, the cost of a few extra rings couldn't have been that much more would it?
 

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made the bins to fit the auger. And they were likely filling/loading out with a 1 or 3 ton truck. Only shovel 300bu at most for a load.

there is such a market for them now I know lots of guys that are just digging a hole and putting them in
 

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Back in the day, augers were very short lengths. My dad had an auger for bin load out that ran off the truck's pto and was attached to his truck! I believe that was the '50s. He tells the story were he lost his pants in the pto shaft and was lucky to be alive! Bins have come along way since electricity and aeration fans became a norm. Now people use grain bags which are basically small bins that are lined up horizontally and can cool grain quickly without electricity! Although there are extractors, it still can become a lot of work to pick that grain back up - inconvenient but mechanized. No one prefers to use this method and it will likely be a passing fad. Once wildlife know there is food in a bag, they will routinely open them. 50 years from now, people will likely question what bags and extractors were used for!

Years ago, farmers threw their dried out fence posts into grain bins to suck up moisture while filling them. Times have changed and people farming in that era did not have the luxury of aeration fans, long grain augers and hopper bottoms! Farms were based on a quarter section and not a township and these people made a living doing it and they still seemed to have time to visit neighbors in evenings. It has now become a corporate business - before it was a way of life.
 

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In the days when they threshed my Dad had an uncle that would dump the grain on the ground if you weren't back with the wagon in time. That meant the guy picking up the grain shoveled it onto the wagon, went back to the yard with the horses and shoveled it into the window of the wooden bin and came back ad infinitum. Good thing I never worked for him. They didn't like shoveling either... that's why they had more kids.
 

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A different era for sure. Small augers, loaded 1 ton trucks, a 3 ton was big. Small combines and few acres. Those bins at the time probably held half the crop they grew, small farms and likely summer fallowed half of it. No way to dry or condition the grain if it was tough, a small bin will keep better than a big one. I bet the grain they kept in those bins paid more bills and had more money left after than the huge bins do today.
 

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Definitely a auger problem. First 2 steel bins my old man bought were 4 ring 14' weststeel to replace a couple of wooden bins. I was in my glory as they were unloaded with a 4" auger into the hammer mill only. Not much shoving and slow. 3rd steel bin was a 3 ring 16' because the auger only reached the inspection door on the 4 ring. I was not happy...
 

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I still remember my dad backing up a 80 bushel wagon to a bin, and then shovelling it full ... I went to the elevator [5 miles] with one wagon behind a Coop 30 tractor, we didn't have any trucks, or grain augers, they cost money that could be used in better places.. Still have both quarters, no semis, and no bank loans of any kind .. simpler that way ..
 

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Dad tells me they bought a brand new JD 55, both headers and a 12' PT swather for $6000 in 1947. Flat bottom wagon yes, to avoid shovelling he would drive to the wooden bin, and unload into door in the peak. Imagine every 50 bu combine hopper. About same time a truck mounted PTO driven auger used to empty 10x12 bin. No hoist on 200 bu truck, air hoists at elevators, even for wagons with horses. Memories. What was wheat per bu? 2-3000 bu bought a new combine? takes 100,000 bu today!
 

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I remember when our only auger was a 6" Scoop a Second... maybe 26' long? We had to put it up on blocks to get it into the first 1350 Inlands that Dad put up. That old auger was used for treated seed for years and is still out in the pasture... little bit like Grandpa's axe though. Changed the head once and the handle 4 times...
 

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We used to have a bunch of wooden granaries that my great grandfather filled by hand with a shovel through a hold in the side near the top of the bin. Unloading was a bit easier, as the grain could run out the bottom door where it was shoveled up into the back of a wagon or truck. At the local grain elevator, they had this neat labor-saving invention that would lift the entire wagon up and dump it out the back into the pit! Definitely a different era when farming was done on a different, more personal scale. The land we farm today in total probably had a dozen families farming and living a hundred years ago. I saw a grain sale receipt for wheat back in the 1880s or so. $/bu wasn't much different than today. Except it was and 1880s dollars. I'm guessing that was better than $160/bu in today's money.

Even 30-40 years ago, grain elevators filled box cars with grain. That was a bit of a laborious process, especially as it got closer to full.

Anyway those little bins look like they'd make decent storage sheds. That's what the wooden grainaries became also.
 

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A scoop shovel is one thing but all of the west coast below the 49th put the grain in juet sacks. My dad and uncle talked of loading 140 lbs sacks of wheat. Barley and oats would be lighter but wheat was the main crop. With the dryer conditions there where combines here earlier than many places. But until WW2 and a shortage of sacks everything was sacked on the combine and dumped on the ground in little piles when ever the sack shoot on the combine was full.

My grandpa bought a Cat 35 diesel in 34 and did as much heavy tillage work for others as they could get. So he ended up buying a truck to haul 10 ton,to move the tractor. So they also hauled grain from central Calif 200 + miles to Los Angeles. So they had tails of loading 140 sacks or more in the 100 degree temps by themselves. They were just tuffer back a 100 years ago.


But when grandpa put up 2 bins in the late 40's early 50's he had a pit and elevator leg. They were much more than 3 rings high,more like 6 or 8 rings. But by the 60's I only remember them being used once. But using more grain than California ever grew, in the 80"s when I started brokers would send semi trailer to your field. Direct from field to end users.
 

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Dad would take out grain until it was time to shovel, which coincidentally occurred the same time we arrived off the school bus. I suppose you can see his point as he grew up augerless and did his share of shovelling both into and out of the bin. Just be thankful to the pioneers that came before you and brought improvements along the way.
 

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Dad would take out grain until it was time to shovel, which coincidentally occurred the same time we arrived off the school bus. I suppose you can see his point as he grew up augerless and did his share of shovelling both into and out of the bin. Just be thankful to the pioneers that came before you and brought improvements along the way.
Off the bus, into work clothes. No such a thing as idle down that Briggs & Stratton. "It builds Character" he says.......
 

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My first job was working for the Alberta wheat pool and a adult involved shovelling and weighing all the grain on site, some bins were 1400 bushels, flat to the anger, Reason being the cwb paid storage, so we are not the only stupid ones.
 

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We used to have a bunch of wooden granaries that my great grandfather filled by hand with a shovel through a hold in the side near the top of the bin. Unloading was a bit easier, as the grain could run out the bottom door where it was shoveled up into the back of a wagon or truck. At the local grain elevator, they had this neat labor-saving invention that would lift the entire wagon up and dump it out the back into the pit! Definitely a different era when farming was done on a different, more personal scale. The land we farm today in total probably had a dozen families farming and living a hundred years ago. I saw a grain sale receipt for wheat back in the 1880s or so. $/bu wasn't much different than today. Except it was and 1880s dollars. I'm guessing that was better than $160/bu in today's money.

Even 30-40 years ago, grain elevators filled box cars with grain. That was a bit of a laborious process, especially as it got closer to full.

Anyway those little bins look like they'd make decent storage sheds. That's what the wooden grainaries became also.
Dad and I have moved several 1100 bu bins back to the farm to use for storage. Filled with stuff that you should keep but shouldn't be outside. They work alright.

I remember calling Dad in the mornings to see what he had for breakfast. This was back in the 90s when I was little.(born in 92) He and my uncle bought the local elevator after Peavey went belly up. Seems like he was always putting doors in the box cars. The wagon hoist is out in the pasture. They could get cars until the railroad pulled up the tracks. Their branch line wasn't a heavy enough gauge to get bigger cars.
I put many many hours in down in the pit around the legs cleaning up water and rotten grain. Rotten peas are the worst. I will shovel dry grain any day over that job. 14ft below ground with the smells and black water dripping on you out of the bucket as it is hoisted out is no fun. But it was never very hot. The one plus. Most of the elevator bins were flat bottom but a few were hoppered. They were small anyway. The grain was usually quite cold too so the main irritant was the dust. When the bottom isn't shoveled out regularly there gets to be a thick dust layer where the grain quits running. Amazing how many of those bottoms stay put even at $15+ ha.
 
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