How Do Grain Elevators Work?

When grain-filled trucks stop on the grain elevator's scales, the trucks are weighed, and then they dump their grains into the grain elevator's pit; the grain moves upward to the elevator's cupola via a belt with attached buckets and is directed into a bin via spouts. The truck then drives back across the scales and is reweighed to determine how much the load weighed.

Those making deposits into a grain elevator are either doing so to sell or store the grains; either way, they are given a receipt showing how much grain was unloaded. A sample of the grain is taken to test its quality and to determine its moisture level.

Most grain elevators range in size from 70 to 120 feet tall and have a headhouse with vertical spaces to store grains. Below the storage spaces is an open work floor and the pit where grain is received. The driveway of the grain elevator allows easy access to dumping the grains. Outside the elevator, a dump scale for weighing each load and an office is usually located.

While some farmers bring their grains to sell them to an owner/operator of a grain elevator, others look for grain elevators for storage. There is a fee for storing grains in an offsite elevator.