How to choose a storage hopper

Agricultural enterprises, whose production cycle and activities are directly related to the cultivation and harvesting of grain and oilseeds, still have a pressing issue of increasing the speed of harvesting and minimizing downtime of combines while waiting for unloading equipment.

Today’s climatic conditions, the development of new, more environmentally friendly ways of harvesting and the introduction of new technologies, such as no till, make it almost impossible for grain trucks to enter the field.

These factors, as well as a number of economic indicators of enterprises, force farmers to turn their attention to storage bins for harvesting and transporting grain.

The modern market of bunkers offers a wide choice of such equipment and a very wide range of models, which differs mainly in technical characteristics, such as:

  • Body volume (can vary from 9 m³ to 70 m³);
  • Wheel or caterpillar travel
  • Different screw diameters
  • Compatibility with tractors of different power
  • Ability to install additional options

This article is designed to tell you how to choose the right hopper for your farm, based solely on the tasks that need to be solved by your farm.

Given that the variety of modern hoppers is huge, and countless models can be confusing when choosing a hopper for your farm, you should, above all, assess the capacity of the combine fleet, which will be directly involved in harvesting.

It is important to know that the volume of the hopper body must be 2 times the total volume of the internal hoppers of the combines!

For example, you have three combines, each of which has a built-in hopper with a body volume of 8 m³. The total volume of all internal bodies is 24 m2. To ensure the continuous operation of your combines, you will need three units of storage hoppers with a minimum body volume of 16 m 16 each. Or it is possible to use two hoppers with a total volume of more than 48 m2 or even one, but here you should take into account the technical capabilities of the tractors that will transport these hoppers. By following these conditions, you can increase the harvest rate by more than 25%.

An extremely important indicator of calculations when choosing a hopper is the characteristics of the tractor engine power and the total number of tractors on the farm. You should also understand that the larger the body of the hopper, the more powerful the tractor you need. Technically successful tandem of the tractor and the bunker allows to work optimally such system of collecting of grain, providing necessary speed of movement.

Let’s understand in more detail – to work with bunkers with a volume of 30-40 m³ you need a tractor with a capacity of at least 280 hp, and to work with 16-20 cc bunkers, a tractor with 180-220 hp is enough.

Another important criterion for choosing a hopper is the choice of chassis type or chassis. The primary task of this option is to ensure stability during constant movement on ordinary terrain, while reducing the pressure of equipment on the ground.

For example, for a field located on a hillside, the best choice would be uniaxial bunkers such as BNP-20. If the field is located on a plain, then you can use a tandem or tridem without any fear. This variation in this case will be the most optimal and effective.

When choosing tires that will ply your fields, be sure to focus on the properties and condition of the soil. If with minimal precipitation your field turns into a swamp, the best choice will be tires, size 650/55 R26.5 for tandems and tridems. If the ground allows more stable movement, you can pay attention to the smaller size of the tires – it will be more justified and effective.

An important indicator of the efficiency of the hopper is its ability to quickly reload and unload grain. This is influenced by several factors simultaneously:

  • engine power;
  • the number of revolutions of the tractor’s GDP per minute;
  • diameter of screws.

Buyers often mistakenly believe that the larger the diameter of the auger, the greater the speed of reloading or unloading. Forced to disappoint you is just a common myth. The larger the diameter of the auger, the greater its weight and load on the nodes during operation. In fact, in order to achieve the maximum speed of unloading or reloading, during the production of storage bins, special engineering calculations are performed, as a result of which the optimal auger size for a specific hopper model is calculated.

We also recommend paying attention to the body kit and the possibility of installing or having additional options:

  • awning
  • weighing system
  • lighting systems
  • sleeves for loading seeders

The awning provides safe storage of the bunker, protecting it from adverse weather conditions – excessive humidity, too high or low temperatures. It is also indispensable when moving the hopper from one field to another – reduces the risk of losing part of the crop, as well as the mass of grain that is reloaded into the grain truck.

Lighting system – allows you to safely operate the hopper in the dark, without worrying about the need to install any additional light sources.

Sleeve for loading of seeders – allows to expand possibilities of use of the bunker considerably. With this tool, you can use the hopper not only during harvesting, but also during sowing.

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