How Much Does a Grain Bin Cost?

Last Updated on May 28, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

For farmers and agricultural producers, investing in grain storage bins is an important part of operations. But with costs that can range from thousands to over $100,000 depending on size and features, it’s crucial to understand the key factors that determine grain bin prices.

This comprehensive article will break down the typical per bushel and overall costs for grain bins, what specifics impact the price, real-world cost examples, tips for maximizing value, and additional considerations. Whether you’re looking to set up a small on-farm system or large commercial operation, knowing what goes into the price can help you plan and budget appropriately.


  • Overall costs scale with capacity, from small $3,000 bins up to massive $100,000+ commercial facilities.
  • Typical per bushel costs range from $2.50 – $5 depending on features, capacity, and materials.
  • Carefully evaluate lifetime costs and value, not just upfront price.
  • Account for all associated expenses like delivery, installation, maintenance, and repairs in budgeting.
  • Invest in quality bins and professional construction for maximum durability and functionality.

How Much Does a Grain Bin Cost?

Looking at overall costs by storage capacity, grain bins range considerably based on size:

  • Small capacity bins (1,000 – 5,000 bushels) – $3,000 to $20,000 –  A standard 2,250-bushel bin may cost around $6,000 for just the bin itself without foundation or installation. These smaller bins are suitable for family farms or specialty crop storage where large volumes aren’t needed.
  • Medium capacity bins (6,000 – 15,000 bushels) – $20,000 to $50,000 –  A common 10,000-bushel bin can cost around $42,500 for the basic structure. Mid-sized bins like these are found on most commercial farms.
  • Large capacity bins (16,000 – 50,000+ bushels) – $50,000 to $100,000+ –  A very large 32,700-bushel bin may go for around $140,000 depending on specifications. Commercial operations invest in these high-capacity bins to maximize harvest storage in a smaller footprint.

Keep in mind these prices only include the raw cost of the bin itself. Things like concrete foundations, installation labor, delivery fees, and other expenses can add $10,000 to $30,000+ to the total project cost. But this gives a general idea of how grain bin costs scale with capacity due to increased materials, engineering, and labor.

Typical Costs Per Bushel of Capacity

A common metric for estimating grain bin cost is the price per bushel of storage capacity. This provides a standard means of comparison across different bin sizes and models. In general, expect per bushel costs from:

  • $2.50 to $4 per bushel for basic galvanized steel bins – These no-frills bins focus purely on storage capacity at the lowest upfront price points. They lack more advanced features like aeration, monitoring, and heavy reinforced materials.
  • $4 to $5 per bushel for bins with added features – This covers bins with things like concrete foundations and floors, temperature and humidity monitoring systems, aircraft-cable reinforced sidewalls, and aeration fans. These features increase the longevity and functionality of the bins to maintain grain quality over longer storage periods. But they also raise the overall price per bushel.

For example, a common 10,000-bushel grain bin at approximately $4.25 per bushel would cost around $42,500 for the basic bin itself without any accessories or installation costs. Keep in mind that per bushel costs will be on the higher end for smaller capacity bins versus massive commercial facilities that can take advantage of economies of scale during construction.

AgTalk Home features a thread discussing the cost of putting up a grain bin, with users sharing their experiences and costs related to constructing grain storage facilities. The conversation covers various aspects such as the cost of concrete, electrical work, grading, and equipment like fans and unloaders.

Users mention prices around $3 to $5 per bushel for building grain bins, with additional expenses for floor, roof, unloader, motors, wiring, and grading contributing to the overall cost.

The Combine Forum hosts a discussion on the rising prices of grain bins, with users sharing their perspectives on the cost-effectiveness and durability of different storage options.

Participants in the forum discuss the challenges and considerations involved in building grain storage facilities, highlighting factors like wind resistance, maintenance, and cost efficiency.

Users mention prices ranging from $38,000 to $550,000 for various sizes and types of grain bins, emphasizing the importance of strategic planning and durability in grain storage construction.

Reddit provides insights into the cost of grain bins, with users sharing their experiences and costs associated with building grain bins on their farms. The discussion includes details on the pricing of concrete pads, the cost of bins from different manufacturers, and additional expenses such as monitoring systems and electrical work.

Users mention prices ranging from $2.50 to $4 per bushel for building grain bins, with variations based on the size, brand, and additional features of the bins.

Overview of Grain Bins

Grain bins are circular or square structures specifically designed for on-farm storage and preservation of corn, wheat, rice, and other grains after harvest. They protect bulk grains from pests, rodents, moisture, and rot until the commodity is ready to go to market. Aeration systems maintain proper temperature and humidity levels inside the sealed bins to maintain quality over months or years of storage.

Galvanized steel is the most common construction material for grain bins, though reinforced concrete or even wood are options as well. Bins range in capacity from just a few thousand bushels for small family farms up to massive million-plus bushel commercial facilities.

Careful consideration has to be given to selecting the optimal size, features, and construction to balance cost, durability, and functionality.

Factors That Impact Grain Bin Pricing

While the overall capacity determines the baseline costs, there are several other important variables that influence the final price of a grain bin. These include:

Bin Material and Build Quality

  • Steel vs concrete construction – Steel bins are more common and have lower upfront costs, but they require more lifetime maintenance versus durable precast concrete. Concrete lasts for decades with minimal upkeep but has higher initial price points.
  • Gauge thickness of steel or reinforced concrete – Thicker walled bins cost more but resist buckling and damage over years of use and exposure to elements. Lifetime operational costs are reduced through sturdier construction.
  • Quality of materials and craftsmanship – Higher end bins made with name-brand, high-grade materials and expert welds or concrete finishing result in a more premium price. But they maintain integrity and prevent grain losses.

Additional Features and Accessories

  • Concrete foundations and interior floors – Poured concrete under the bin prevents sinking or shifting, while floors aid cleaning. This adds $3 to $5 per bushel to the cost.
  • Temperature monitoring cables and humidity sensors – Maintaining proper temperature and moisture levels prevents spoilage. Automated monitoring runs $1 to $2 per bushel.
  • Aeration fans and ducting – Aeration equalizes temps and removes hot pockets to maintain grain quality. figure around $1 per bushel for aeration.
  • Safety cages, fall protection, and ladders – Improving access and preventing injuries justifies the cost of railings and other features.

Geographic Location Variables

  • Regional pricing differences – Bin costs can vary based on local rates for materials, labor, and transportation. Buying locally avoids markup.
  • Remote locations – Long-distance shipping or delivery to remote farms can add expensive transportation costs. Buy locally when possible.

Installation and Construction Labor

  • DIY vs professional installation – Expert construction ensures the bin is structurally sound but adds $2,000 or more in labor costs. DIY is risky.
  • Local labor rates and expertise – Qualified welding and concrete finishing demand higher hourly rates, but deliver quality and safety.

Maintenance Requirements

  • Annual upkeep costs – Expect maintenance expenses of $500+ yearly for cleaning, repairs, and preventative maintenance to maximize lifespan.
  • Major repairs or part replacements – Big repairs like replacing unload equipment can cost thousands. Regular maintenance reduces these major expenses down the road.

Real-World Grain Bin Price Examples

You might also like our articles about the cost of a barn, hangar space, or a John Deere Gator.

To understand real-world costs, here are two detailed grain bin pricing examples:

5,000 Bushel Bin for Small Farm

John needs extra grain storage for his small family farm operation. He purchases:

  • 5,000-bushel galvanized steel bin, 16 feet tall x 18 feet diameter
  • $3.50 per bushel cost based on supplier quote
  • $17,500 price for entry-level bin with basic specs
  • $2,000 for concrete pad foundation
  • $1,000 for bin delivery and setup with farmer’s equipment
  • $20,500 total turnkey project cost

This provides adequate storage capacity for John’s needs at a reasonable upfront investment by going with a standard steel bin and handling setup himself.

50,000 Bushel Commercial Grain Facility

Grain Bin IowaAn industrial farm cooperative is installing a new 50,000-bushel grain storage facility including:

  • (5) 10,000-bushel galvanized steel bins, 24 feet tall x 24 feet diameter
  • Commercial grade bins with reinforced sidewalls and hopper bottoms
  • $2.80 per bushel quote based on large wholesale order
  • $140,000 total for commercial-grade bins
  • $20,000 for engineered concrete foundations
  • $10,000 for shipping and delivery
  • $15,000 for professional turnkey installation
  • $185,000 total cost

By purchasing commercial-scale bins in bulk and hiring professional installation, the cooperative saves on costs and gets an efficient grain storage solution.

Strategies to Control Grain Bin Costs

While upfront price is important, it’s critical to evaluate lifetime value and total cost of ownership. But there are still ways to control grain bin costs through smart purchasing:

  • Buy multiple bins at once for bulk pricing – Suppliers offer discounts on multi-bin packages for large projects.
  • Ask about off-season pricing specials – Slow periods like winter may yield discounts over peak summer and fall demand.
  • Consider quality used bins when possible – Gently used bins can cost 50% less while still having years of life left.
  • Compare pricing from multiple vendors – Don’t go with the first quote – shop around for deals.
  • Factor in all long-term costs – Look past just initial price to operating costs like maintenance, repairs, and grain losses from poor construction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about grain bin prices below.

How much does a silo cost?

Silo costs are comparable to large-capacity grain bins in the $50,000 to $100,000 range or higher depending on size and materials. Massive concrete tower silos over 100 feet tall used for dedicated corn or soybean storage can run well over $100,000. They require extensive engineering and professional installation because of their height, increasing overall costs.

Farmers need to consider whether added silo features like automated unloading equipment justify the price premium over simpler grain bins. For smaller operations, standard circular steel bins often provide adequate storage at lower costs. But heavily reinforced concrete silos stand the test of time for decades if properly maintained.

How much does it cost to convert a grain bin into a house?

Creative farmers have converted used grain bins into unique small homes or cottages. Converting a metal grain bin into a livable dwelling costs approximately $50,000 to $90,000 depending on the bin size and features added.

This includes costs for:

  • Moving and transporting the grain bin safely.
  • Pouring a new concrete slab foundation.
  • Installing insulation, windows, doors and roofing to make the interior weatherproof.
  • Adding HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems for a functional home.

Specialized labor and custom interior finishing like tiling or wood paneling can rapidly inflate the price. Going with a used grain bin and simple furnishings helps control costs. Grain bins sized under 500 square feet may not require permits in some rural locations, avoiding fees. Overall, grain bins provide affordable steel-reinforced structures compared to traditional construction. But higher retrofitting costs are traded off for unique architecture and budget-friendly tiny home living.

Can you live in a grain bin?

Yes, it’s possible to live legally in a converted grain bin in many rural areas. Local building codes vary, but many counties allow inhabiting grain bins smaller than 500 square feet without a permit. Larger home conversions may be possible with proper permits, inspections, and zoning approval.

Factors that help gain approval include:

  • Proper foundation, weatherproofing, ventilation, utilities to meet code.
  • Limiting height to avoid needing extensive structural engineering.
  • Maintaining an agricultural appearance in rural settings.
  • Following any environmental and access requirements.

With the right grain bin model, conversion quality, and location, grain storage structures can be transformed into cozy and cost-effective tiny home living spaces. Just be sure to consult local zoning laws first.

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