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You Are Here Sunflower Magazine > New Technology Makes Bin Checking Easier

Sunflower Magazine

New Technology Makes Bin Checking Easier
September 2006

Grain bins are getting bigger – it’s common for bins that go up today to have a capacity of 25,000 to 35,000 bushels or more. However, there’s technology available today that helps keep tabs of stored grain temperature.

Various components and systems are commercially available that operate on the principle of temperature cables that hang down inside of a bin. The cables help track stored grain temperature, even insect activity. Readings can be gathered outside of a bin via a hand-held monitoring device, or remotely transmitted back to a PC. The sensors help determine when and how long to run aeration fans, and when to turn them off.

Bigger bins might need two or three cables instead of one, and even then, the cables aren’t foolproof. Since grain acts as an insulator, a temperature cable might not detect ‘hot spots’ just a few feet away.

The systems should be viewed as just one more tool to consider for managing stored grain. “Having a cable or two or three is going to tell growers more about the temperature of the stored grain than just opening the top of the bin and looking in, or not doing any checking at all,” says Ken Hellevang, extension engineer at North Dakota State University.

OPI Systems is a Canadian company that makes the grain storage tracking systems; Custom Marketing Company of West Fargo, N.D. ( and Westeel (, with a location in Fargo) are two distributors in the U.S. Others can be found on the OPI Systems web site ( – under ‘Customer Support’ link, see ‘OPI Dealer Network.’ – Tracy Sayler

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