Grain Facilities Planning and Design I

GEAPS Online Learning courses are available anytime on-demand. Each course takes approximately 10 hours to complete and can be completed at any pace over five weeks. Courses must be completed within a five-week period that begins the day you register. After registering, learners will be sent a confirmation email, then you’re ready to start learning!  


$495 for members
$795 for non-members.  

Course Description: This course will cover key factors and information needed for making grain-facility planning, design and construction decisions. It will examine various grain-facility types and their purposes, storage-structure types and options, discuss how to determine the needed storage and handling and how to select a suitable construction site. It will also cover flow diagrams and help students get a jump on real world planning by asking them to lay out a simple facility.

Course Goals: The course will help participants identify various grain facility types and components and then determine the most appropriate type for their specific purposes before construction, expansion or modernization projects get underway.

Target Audience:The course is intended for grain-company executives, company board members, regional and local facility managers and supervisors, insurance underwriters, equipment vendors, grain company accountants and others involved with planning and designing a new grain facility or updating or expanding an existing facility.


Dr. Fred Fairchild  Kansas State University Department of Grain Science and Industry See Bio

Before arriving at KSU in 1994, Dr. Fred Fairchild had more than 30 years of industry experience in the design, construction, operation and management of feed, flour, dry corn milling and pet food manufacturing facilities. A professor of grain science and industry, Fairchild worked previously at Todd & Sargent in Ames, Iowa, where he was vice president of engineering. A licensed professional engineer, Fairchild specializes in plant design and construction, manufacturing technology, maintenance, materials handling and plant management.

Dr. Dirk Maier  Iowa State Univesity See Bio

Dr. Maier is professor at Iowa State University and previously served as director of the GEAPS/K-State Distance Education Program. Maier’s research and extension education programs focus on post-harvest engineering, stored-product protection, structural fumigation, value-added processing, and quality assurance of agricultural crops and biological products. Before joining Iowa State University, Dr. Maier was professor and head of the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University and professor, associate head and extension agricultural engineer at Purdue University.

Dr. Carlos Campabadal  Kansas State University Dept of Grain Science and IndustrySee Bio

Dr. Campabadal is a program specialist focusing in the areas of grain storage, quality management and processing, and feed manufacturing for the International Grains Program at K-State. He also coordinates the Spanish-speaking outreach program ,and handles teaching and research responsibilities in feed manufacturing and grain storage at K-State’s Department of Grain Science & Industry. Carlos works as a consultant in grain handling, quality and storage and in feed manufacturing in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and North Africa. He is finishing his doctoral degree in agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University. His professional experience includes working as a project and maintenance engineer in the farm and feed manufacturing industry in Costa Rica.

Bob Klare  EDG, Inc.See Bio

Bob Klare has twenty-three years of experience in the grain industry. A 1989 graduate of Ohio University with a mechanical engineering degree, he has worked as a maintenance superintendent, project manager, engineer and consultant for dozens of facilities and clients, both in the U.S. and overseas. He has developed and managed a wide range of projects from design to start-up at inland elevators, export terminals, import terminals, and flour mills. In his current role with EDG, Bob leads a team providing engineering and consulting services to clients in grain and other bulk material industries.

The Course of Study

Week 1Details

Lecture 1 – Facility Types and Purposes
To determine what type of grain handling facility should be designed or built, it’s first necessary to have a good handle on anticipated main purposes. How is the facility going to be used? What are its functions? Once understood, options can be narrowed among the various facility types, including on-farm storage, country elevators, regional and terminal elevators and port facilities. This introductory lecture will discuss the reasons why grain is stored, and then review the major types of storage facilities and what they’re designed to accomplish.
Lecturer: Dr. Fred Fairchild

Lecture 2 – Matching Commercial Needs and Facility Capacity
How large does a facility need to be? What types of equipment will it require? This lecture will explore how facility capacity and the types of equipment selected need to match the facility’s commercial needs. The discussion will cover factors such as types of grains received, receiving quantities, units and frequencies, sampling and binning, weighing points, drying requirements, short-term and long-term storage and shipping quantities, units and frequencies. It will also prompt students to start thinking about the final course assignment: laying out a facility.
Lecturer: Dr. Fred Fairchild

Week 2Details

Lecture 3 – Types of Storage Structures
This lecture will familiarize students with various types of bin construction and advantages and limitations of each type. It will also discuss other major issues to consider before design and construction, including marketing objectives, the impact of grain physical properties on the storage system, safety features, pest control, inventory management, maintenance and repair and life-cycle costs.
Lecturer: Dr. Dirk Maier

Lecture 4 – Grain Handling Equipment Options
Building on previous course material, this lecture will examine some of the major grain facility equipment options.  We will investigate their potential advantages and disadvantages, point out some suggested do’s and don’ts and discuss where, physically, the equipment might be best suited within a facility. The lecture will cover equipment including screw conveyors, bucket elevators and drag conveyors (especially en masse conveyors).
Lecturer: Dr. Fred Fairchild

Week 3Details

Lecture 5 – Receiving, Weighing and Loading Systems
Before design and construction of a facility, it’s critical to plan the receiving, weighing and loading systems to optimize the operation of the entire location. This lecture will discuss considerations relating to truck and rail receiving including sampling, unloading and dust control as well as road and track layout. We will discuss options and arrangements for truck scales, rail scales and bulk weighers and consider particular requirements and specific considerations for both rail and barge loading, including important safety considerations and how these aspects of a facility connect to the overall arrangement and design.
Lecturer: Bob Klare
Lecture 6 – Storage and Handling Capacities
This lecture will guide the students through different scenarios for determining the appropriate storage and handling capacities needed for a new or renovated facility. How fast does the drag or screw conveyor need to operate? What volumes need to be handled for dust control? What capacities are needed in the receiving systems? The lecture will discuss how to determine required handling rates and the size and quantity of the bins needed and what equipment would be best suited to the facility’s purp

Week 4Details

Lecture 7 – Grain Cleaning and Facility Design
This lecture will cover grain cleaning equipment and systems, which allow facility operators to improve grain quality by removing foreign material and fines. The lecture will describe a variety of equipment options and how they work. It will cover various types of cleaners, scalpers, de-stoners, screeners, aspirators and optical sorters, and then relate how they are connected to facility design in terms of plant location, discharge, field-control devices, access for maintenance as well as changing screens. Additionally, the lecture will discuss safety, operational and structural considerations when installing grain cleaners.
Lecturer: Bob Klare

Lecture 8 – Determining Facility Requirements and Layout
Building on previous lectures, Lecture 8 guides students through the process of determining the requirements and capacities required for a grain handling and storage system type that will assigned to them in Lecture 10. Topics covered include determining storage capacities, bin sizes and numbers of bins required; determining handling system requirements and capacities; determining sampling and weight requirements; determining special requirements, such as those pertaining to cleaning, drying and dust control; and how to create a flow diagram.
Lecturer: Dr. Fred Fairchild

Week 5Details

Lecture 9 – Site Selection
Lecture 9 familiarizes students with considerations and requirements for selecting an appropriate site for the type of facility to be built. Topics covered will include determining and assessing the feasibility of the usable area, what types of road and rail access are available and whether they’ll be sufficient, what types of utilities are available, accessibility and easements, codes and regulations, assessing the local labor market and security considerations.
Lecturer: Dr. Fred Fairchild

Lecture 10 – Time to Design!
In this lecture, students will apply what they’ve learned from the previous lectures and lay out a basic grain facility. They’ll be given some hypothetical information about grain types and input and output volumes and then asked to design a facility to handle the needs. How many bins will be required? How large would they need to be? Where should they be located? How big should the dryer be? What’s the best approach for shipping? The idea is to give students an opportunity to experience the actual process of planning a facility to meet commercial and operational realities.
Lecturer: Dr. Fred Fairchild