Grain Bin Monitoring - Another Green Book Find


There are a LOT of options for monitoring your grain once it is in the bin.  Rather than re-write the book, today we are sharing some links to give you an overview of the options available to you.  In reality, it is highly likely that there may be a combination of monitoring options that are right for your operation, depending on factors like if you use bins or bags and if you rent or own.

Check out these articles, which summarize some bin sensor technologies:
Top Crop Manager:

Western Producer:

Also, Green Book 2018 pg 232 and 249 show two examples of bin monitoring options.

As always - leave us a comment if you have had an experience, positive or negative, with bin sensor technology.  Or email us at or

Bin Innovation - Another Green Book Find

Grain storage is top of mind as we plan our storage strategies.  For some farms, this fall has felt more like winter, with early snow making harvest difficult.  For other farms, harvest seems to have been finished long ago and now bin site management is top of mind as they monitor the conditions and locations of their stored grain.  Either way, on farm storage plays a key role in the workload throughout the fall and winter months. Here are two grain bin gadgets to check out:

  • LevALERT (pg 226)  This visual indicator allows you to monitor the amount of material in your bin without worrying about dust build up on a viewing window or having to climb a ladder.  It operates mechanically and can be used to indicate both when bins are getting full or empty. Strategically placed indicators can allow the lead time necessary to plan your next storage-related actions.  Check out for details.

  • After market bin lids (pg 224)  Adjusting bin lids without climbing ladders saves time and improves safety.  After market options can transform your flat bottom bins and allow you to stay on the ground as you close, fully open or partially open your bin lids.

Every farmer wants to get their grain (or other materials) into the bin.  While it can be a huge relief to get crops out of the field and into a safe home, this isn’t the end of the story.  Having the right tools to help with storage can save time and money and keep you safe.

Let us know if you have used the LevALERT system or have a favorite after market bin lid… drop us a comment or email or

Stay tuned for a look at bin sensor technologies tomorrow.

The Green Book Finds


The Green Book is a staple in our house. We keep copies from year to year, just in case we need to compare some product from five years ago?!?!?!  But seriously, it is the Sears Christmas catalog of farming. (I date myself with that reference, I know.)

It is fun to go through the catalogue to get new ideas of interesting technologies and innovations.  Some advertisers and products are multi-million dollar investments, but others represent a handy gadget, tool or technology that would be easy to implement without breaking the bank.  

To get us started, we have picked three items that we have tried on our farms.  If you have the 2018 Green Book and you want to follow along, here we go:

  • Hopper Dropper (pg 200): mounts to the bottom of a hopper bin to funnel grain into the auger

  • Bushel Plus drop pan (pg 188): mounts to any combine to help check for loss

  • Crop Catcher (pg 189): mounts on the combine header in front of the cab to deflect seeds back into the header

All this week we will feature some of the technologies that we have tried, or are going to test out soon.  If you have any great Green Book finds, please let us know. Drop us a comment or send us an email at or

Communication is the key

Technology helps farms and farmers in a number of ways. Often farmers want to embrace new technologies – they are interested in improving their productivity and sustainability, but that doesn’t always make it easy.  In a time of rapid technology advances, it is important to talk about how farmers and tech developers can work together to shorten both the research and development phase AND the adoption lifecycle.

product development lifecycle.jpg

Here are my top 3 asks for the teams of people who develop technologies to assist farmers:

1.  Develop technologies to work in places where internet service is not reliable.

Due to the nature of our field locations, there are times when we require store-and-sync or delayed auto-sync options, in addition to cloud-based technologies.  (Of course, if there is a team out there who could solve our internet service issues that would be great too!) J

2. Develop technologies that are able to integrate across equipment brands. 

For instance, data from seeding equipment and harvest equipment can be used together to inform decisions for upcoming years.  The more easily this data can interplay, the better information we can get to make decisions.

3. Develop technologies that are easily scalable or that can be implemented in phases.

New technologies can have “ripple effects” across an operation, so it increases farmers’ ability to adopt new technology when the costs of the upgrades or changes can be spread out over several growing seasons.  For instance, in an ideal world, we would have row-by-row control, but for now it is financially feasible to have sectional control – knowing that eventually we can add the parts to make our sections smaller and smaller, until they turn into rows.


Farmers are working hard to be sustainable socially, environmentally and economically.  Technology tools can help in all of these areas.  When farmers and developers communicate, everyone wins.  Efficient research and development cycles are good for companies and result in technologies that are easier for farmers to adopt.  In the end, this should have a positive impact on the environment and the consumer.  Sounds like a win, win, win, win situation.