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Grain Bin Freezing and Bursting -- Loss Prevention Suggestions

Feb 18, 2011

Farmers Alliance noticed an increased frequency of a somewhat unusual loss phenomenon in Kansas. Because this is relatively new to them, they contacted an expert on loss prevention that measures for this type of loss.

According to Dr. Kenneth Hellevang of the Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering

Department at North Dakota State University,

“Frost and ice may form on grain bin vents at temperatures near or below freezing.

Moisture from the air condenses and freezes on the cold metal surfaces. The

accumulation can seal the vent so air cannot fl ow through the vent. A fan used for grain

drying and aeration develops pressures of 4 to 6-inches of water. This is about 21 to 31

pounds per square foot pushing on the roof. Even though this seems like a small pressure,

it is a total force of about 21,375 pounds on a 36-foot diameter bin. This amount of force

will damage the bin roof.”

He added,

“To properly manage stored grain, it is necessary to operate fans on bins at temperatures

near or below freezing. We recommend that you consider advising insureds to leave

the fi ll hole or access door on the roof, or both, open as a pressure relief valve when

operating the fan at near or below freezing temperatures to minimize the potential for

damaging the bin roof.” 

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