Custom Grain Shed Design

How To Create A Custom Grain Shed Design

There are so many advantages of having on-farm grain storage sheds.

For example, sheds are safe and cost-effective for bulk grain storage. Grain sheds also provide excellent weather protection and aeration. And a grain shed is a versatile investment.

To capitalise on these advantages, your grain shed needs to be well designed. The ideal grain shed design facilitates best-practice grain storage and is tailored to suit your storage requirements.

Creating a custom grain shed design helps you get the most out of your investment. It makes sure your on-farm grain storage shed works for you. 

Most importantly, taking the time to perfect your grain shed design now, will keep your grain in the best possible condition in the long run. The goal is to have your grain come out of the shed in the same condition as it went in. A custom grain shed design can help achieve this. 

If you have reached this point and are asking; “How do I create a custom grain shed design?” 

Or “where do I start? What do I need to know?”

Then, read on! We have created the ultimate guide to grain shed design. 

How To Create A Custom Grain Shed Design

In this guide we are going to discuss the key details and design components that need to be considered when creating a custom grain shed design. 

These include shed size, configuration, wall types, wall height, access options, ventilation and roof pitch. 

However, the first step is to get a good understanding of your grain storage requirements. 

Understanding Your Grain Storage Requirements

Your grain storage requirements will influence what grain shed design will work best for you. These could include the amount of grain you are storing, the type of grain you are storing and how long you intend to store the grain for.

To understand your grain storage requirements, here are some questions to ask: 

  • Are you working to a budget?
  • Do you need to accommodate truck access and tipping?
  • Does your grain need to be segregated?
  • How much grain do you need to store?
  • Is the type of grain you are storing suited to shed storage?
  • What are your future grain storage plans? How long are you planning to store the grain?
  • Where will the shed be located? Will the shed site dictate the design?
  • Will you be using your shed in the off-season for machinery or hay storage?
Custom Grain Shed Design

Once you have reviewed your grain storage requirements you will have a clear picture of what you hope to achieve with your shed. So, let’s look at the different ways you can customise your grain shed.

9 Ways To Customise Your Grain Shed Design 

1. Size

Like any shed project, size is one of the most important details of a grain shed.

The amount of grain that you need to store determines the best size for your shed. But that’s not all. 

The type of grain you are storing also needs to be considered. This is because different grains have different physical properties. For example, the bulk density of barley is 600-650 kg/m3, while the bulk density of faba beans is 750-800 kg/m3.

Use the grain storage calculator below to learn about the different bulk densities and the storage capacity of your shed. 

Put in your shed size and grain type in the left side fields and the storage volume and total tonnage will be displayed on the right.

This calculator can be a useful tool to give you an idea of how much grain your shed will be able to store. However, we recommend discussing your capacity requirements with our building consultants first. We can then work with you to find the most cost-effective shed design to suit.

2. Configuration

There are three main configurations for grain shed designs. These are an inside-out shed, a fully enclosed shed with concrete panels and an open-front shed. 
An inside-out grain shed is a shed with iron installed on the inside of the shed. This shed configuration provides a clean skin inside the shed for minimal dust collection and is suited for most cereal grains
A fully-enclosed concrete panel shed is the most secure way to store grain. Pre-cast concrete panels are fastened to the inside of the shed columns. Additional supporting steelwork is installed to accommodate the concrete and grain loads. This shed configuration is well sealed against grain pests and vermin and is also suited to fertiliser storage.
The third and most cost-effective configuration option is the open-front shed. 
Open-front grain sheds are constructed with either concrete panel walls or iron walls on the enclosed sides. This configuration suits grains like faba beans as the airflow through the shed prevents discolouring. And an open-front shed will work well for hay or machinery storage if you intend to repurpose your shed in the future. 


3. Roof Pitch

Choosing the correct roof pitch is an important step in creating a custom grain shed design. 
Our standard 7.5-degree roof pitch is not steep enough for grain storage sheds. Instead, to accommodate the internal angle of repose of the grain stack we usually recommend a roof pitch of 18 – 25 degrees. 

4. Wall Type

There are a number of different wall options available to customise your grain shed. 
Some of these we have already mentioned, such as pre-cast concrete panel walls. Pre-cast concrete panel walls can also be installed in the shed for the segregation of different types of grain.
Another option is an internal wall clad to the grain storage height – usually around three metres high. Internal walls cost less than installing concrete panels, but they can be more prone to damage when loading or unloading.
Custom Grain Shed Design with iron walls

Retrofitting self-supporting concrete walls to an existing hay or machinery shed can be a cost-effective way for you to gain more grain storage capacity.

Self-supporting concrete walls are another wall option. These can be retrofitted to an existing shed such as a hay shed or machinery shed. This could be a cost-effective way for you to gain more grain storage capacity without building a new shed.
Or, if you are building an inside-out grain shed, a concrete plinth can be installed along the walls of the shed to prevent damage to the iron when loading or unloading the shed. 
If you are considering concrete walls for your grain shed project, you might be interested to know that we manufacture these in-house. This is much more cost-effective than engaging a third-party supplier. And it allows the Action Steel team to project manage your grain shed build from start to finish.

Now, let’s discuss wall height. 

5. Wall Height

 As well as the type of wall, the height of the wall needs to be considered. We generally recommend a concrete panel wall height of three metres. This is usually the ideal height as it takes into account the angle of repose of common grain types.

6. Access

Access to your grain shed should not be overlooked. Limited or tight access to your shed can be very frustrating, particularly at busy times like harvest!
Custom Grain Shed Design Height
There are a few aspects to consider. The height of your shed is one of these. It is difficult to make your shed higher once it has been built. So, it is important to get it right in the design stage. This includes factoring in clearance for truck tipping. 
Planning your shed site so that there is adequate room for turning circles is another important step. Site planning also plays a part in improving logistics and planning for future infrastructure. 

For fully-enclosed grain sheds, sliding doors are usually installed on the gable ends for quick and easy access. Overhead loading systems are another option. 

Extra wide bay spacings such as 8.5 metres or 9 metres are an access option for open-front sheds. These provide more room for machinery and trucks when loading and unloading the shed, making these tasks quicker, easier and less stressful!

7. Ventilation

Ventilation and airflow are essential for many types of grain to prevent discolouring and discourage grain pests.
Some of the ventilation options you could include in your custom grain shed design are whirly birds and ridge vents. 
Open-front sheds usually have the best airflow which is why they are a popular choice for storing grains like faba beans. 

8. Segregation

If segregation is a requirement for your grain storage, this can be achieved by installing concrete walls in your shed to separate different types of grains. 
However, if strict segregation and cross-contamination control are a high priority, silos may be a better storage option. You can learn more about the different storage options for grain in this article – Grain Sheds vs Grain Tarps vs Storage Bags vs Silos – What Is The Best Way To Store Grain?
And finally, let’s talk about concrete slabs.

9. Concrete Slabs

A concrete slab is a must-have for any grain shed design. Installing a concrete slab in your grain shed makes loading and unloading easier. It also helps keep your shed clean and pest free.
The team at Action Steel can arrange the concrete slab for your project and will ensure it is engineered for the required load ratings.
If you have any questions about concrete slabs, such as; How thick does it need to be? Or, how much will it cost? Watch the video below.

So, that’s the nine ways to customise your grain shed design!

What else do you need to know? Check out the resources below from our Learning Hub to help kick-start your project planning. 

Useful Resources

We hope you have found this article helpful for designing your grain shed. If you have any questions about customising your shed, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Or check out our project gallery for more ideas and inspiration!

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