By Dan Archer
For more than 25 years, Cranfield Hopper Bottoms of Limerick has manufactured cones and steel floors for grain bins.
The company is positioned west of Limerick along Highway 13. Search for the massive sign of steel to the right announcing Cranfield Hopper Bottoms as you drive one mile past the village. Drive four miles north along an access road marked by the Cranfield sign – a sign impossible to miss, along an escalating and dipping road through prairies and farmland. Soon, a cluster of bins will be spotted perched on hopper bottoms along with a grouping of industrial buildings towards the right.
Bev and Jim Cranfield launched their business from 1991 to 1992, selling hopper bottoms for steel grain bins to producers in Western Canada.
Before then, the majority of bins fabricated from steel were flat-bottomed. The addition of conic bases to bins became an innovation for farmers seeking improvements in production yields. When these funnel-shaped bottoms were attached to the bins, this increased the aeration in stored grain, thus reducing spoilage from moisture and rising temperatures.
Also, hopper bottoms can be placed underneath bins for cleaning; there’s so many efficiencies relative to hopper bottoms. Since the 1990s, hopper bottoms have gained popularity with producers in Saskatchewan and other provinces as farms continue to grow. Cranfield were virtual pioneers in Limerick. Although other competitors have joined in on the action, Cranfield were manufacturing their specialized agricultural equipment for 26 years.
Cranfield’s factory is located inside a hanger-sized building adjoining the head office with steel fabrication equipment, saws, a paint shop and everything else required to build their creations on site. Usually, a crew of 20 is on hand to assemble orders for the spring. Unfortunately, layoffs have occurred at Cranfield as a result of the American steel tariffs and low grain prices, but the company remains optimistic as their superior products are always in demand.
The family-owned operation sells hopper bottoms in various sizes to fit grain bins of all makes from 14 to 24 feet.
Other related parts manufactured on site include incinerators for farms, skids, air rails, double handles on cones, aeration tubes.
Online information about the company and how to order their products can be found https://www.cranfieldhoppers.com/ or phone the Cranfield head office at 306 263-4914. Cranfield Hopper Bottoms are sold through Nutrien Ag Solutions in Southern Saskatchewan.
The Cranfield family, shown in the photo at left, include Devin Cranfield, Teneille Powell, Bev Cranfield, Jim Cranfield and Chelsea Cranfield.