The Walkabout Mother Bin boosts harvest efficiency.
The big, portable grain storage trailer cycles trucks faster, reducing equipment and labor needs.
The Walkabout Mother Bin created a quite a stir on Facebook and in country cafes when it showed up in in the Dakotas during corn harvest. The Mother Bin is a huge trailer designed to be used as portable grain storage in the field. The seven-axle unit holds 4,000 bushels, has a 22-inch unloading auger and could load a semi in about two minutes. There are also 6,000- and 8,000-bushel models in development.
“It works like a surge tank when trucks can’t keep up with the combine and grain cart,” says Dave Hedt, founder and president of USA Mother Bins LLC. Rather than dumping grain into the trucks directly, the cart operator fills the Mother Bin. Trucks are loaded from the Mother Bin.
As a result, the trucks cycle faster between town or the farm and the field. They don’t have to sit in the field and wait for the grain cart to fill them. They can be loaded in two to three minutes and head back onto the road. While they are gone, the combine keeps going, and the grain cart operator keeps filling the Mother Bin.
“You won’t need as many as trucks and drivers,” Hedt says.
Kevin Dieter, of Dieter Farm, Faulkton, found it to be true. It normally takes four semi doubles to keep up with their combines and grain carts. With the Mother Bin, his family only needed two trucks.
Craig Mutsch, a Faulkton farmer and custom combiner, says the unloading speed of the Mother Bin is amazing. He loaded three semis with pup trailers in nine minutes and 30 seconds.
“It will be a good fit for some of the guys I custom combine for in western South Dakota,” he says. “They have to travel 50 to 60 miles to an elevator.”
Smaller farmers could benefit, too. They wouldn’t even need to own semis. It would be efficient for them to hire the elevator to come to the field and get their grain, he says.
Scott Anderson, of Anderson Brothers Farms, Andover, S.D., usually sends only 25% of their semis to the Wheat Growers terminal 16 miles away to unload. The rest have to dump grain at the home farm’s bin site, which is only a few miles away, so that they can get back in time to keep the combine moving. When Anderson demoed the Mother Bin, he was able to send all his trucks to the elevator to fill a contract.
Mother Bins have been used in Australia for 20 years. Hedt, an Australian who now lives in Faulkton, started a company to build Mother Bins in the U.S. He has contracted with Anderson Industries, Webster, S.D., to build the portable grain storage trailers.
“I think Mother Bins could be a springboard to usher in a new era of harvest efficiency in the U.S. grain belt,” he says.