Iowa Bin Builder: Rebuilding On-Farm Storage Could Continue Past 2021

Harvest is kicking off for Dennis Campbell in Grand Mound, Iowa.

“The soybeans really handled the wind and the weather from a month ago a lot better than we anticipated,” says Campbell.

While he'll know soon enough how his crops fared after the August derecho swept through his area, his on-farm storage was not so fortunate. His farm had roughly $1.5 million worth of structural damage.

"It must have been pushed by the winds hard enough that it was leaning,” says Campbell as he shows the damage to one bin. “The wind must have let up where it slung-shot itself back. It shot these bolts on the East side and slammed this down 8 inches off-center."

That bin now unusable.

“This bolt here should be inside this hole,” says Campbell as he points.

Campbell also lost an identical 190,000 bushel bin and a 65,000 bushel wet bin. Luckily, a new dryer has arrived. He is able to use two smaller older bins this fall which can hold 35%-40% of his production.

AgDay national reporter, Betsy Jibben, asks, “Do you think you can get a contractor here to build that bin or is it harvest 2021 that you’re looking at to get that storage back?”

“[It will be] definitely harvest ’21,” says Campbell.

A company called Custom Builders, in Tipton Iowa, is rebuilding grain bins. Owners say it may be difficult to rebuild everything lost by 2021.

“I’ve been here 40 years,” says Custom Builders owner, Rob Bohnsack. “I’ve never seen anything like this. We will not get done this year. We will not get done next year. I would hope maybe by harvest 2022 we’d be back to where [farmers] were.”

Bohnsack says he's supplying farmers who don't have any storage first. He says the company has the supplies. The problem is lack of manpower.

"We just don't have the capacity to get them put up because of manpower,” says Bohnsack. “We could use a lot of bin crews with jacks and millwrights. We just don't have them. They’re not available."

Bohnsack says winter will also cause a delay. His crews will likely build throughout November, if the weather holds. He says most of the concrete pads are good, so they won't need to pour much concrete in the cold weather.

"We'll just have to do what we can in the winter and then get back at it, hopefully, in March,” says Bohnsack.

Back at the field, Campbell will continue to harvest and keep some of it in flat storage inside a building he rents from a neighbor.

“We’ll just make it through harvest ’20 and move on to ’21,” says Campbell.

It’s an additional expense and another step, but a way to work to put 2020 behind him.

Bohnsack says his customers have been understanding throughout the whole process. Some farmers told the company to help friends or neighbors first who are worse off than they are as well.