The time to make your grain system addition and improvement decisions is right now. The demand for steel has been strengthening, and all manufacturers of grain bins and related equipment have announced price increases.

The level of new bin and equipment orders through the fall and early winter programs was somewhat spotty. We’ve had strong sales activity in some areas while some areas have been quiet. That is until mid-January arrived. The talk of price increases becoming reality, combined with the early discount incentives dropping off, has created some urgency in the market.

Incoming orders have picked up the last few weeks and some grain bin lead times are now out to the middle and late summer. Product lead times will continue to jump out quickly as the marketplace continues to react. The construction labor schedules will fill up quickly as orders are taken and the weather improves.

Think back and recall the problems and issues your system had this past fall. More importantly, remember the issues you experienced during the fall of 2019. Did your receiving system keep the combine running? Was your dryer able to keep up? Was your wet holding able to keep the receiving running? Do you need more storage? Was your natural air-drying system able to get the grain dry? Is your storage capable of cooling hot grain? Does your unloading system have the capacity to keep the trucks rolling?

Don’t let the luxury of the ideal harvest experienced in 2020 lure you into a false sense of security. Ask yourself these questions, and get those problems addressed and resolved now. The longer you wait the more difficult it will be.

The harvest of 2020 may seem like a distant memory now. Considering that the grain was very high quality and was in great condition, it is also easy to forget about as it sits in storage.

You should check your stored grain weekly, especially during the spring period when average air temperatures are changing rapidly. Check the surface of the grain for signs of crusting, wet, sticky or frozen kernels. Inspect the underside of the roof for signs of condensation. If you don’t have temperature cables, probe the grain surface in several places with a grain thermometer on a length of rod to detect any heating. If any of these signs appear, you must react quickly as conditions can accelerate and jeopardize the entire grain mass.

Don Fuller serves as GROWMARK Grain Systems Customer Service manager.