Mother Bins vs Field Bins – What’s the difference?

Post Terms

Mother bins and field bins can cause a bit of confusion, as much like with drink sizes, fried potato treats and nicknames for crumbed chicken, Australians have different terminology for each.

What some call Field Bins, the rest of the nation call Mother Bins, (while they call Field Bins “portable grain silos”).

For the purposes of this post, we will refer to Field Bins as temporarily located and portable bulk containers used for the storage of grains and stock feed, and Mother Bins as the towable, on-field grain storage, usually filled from a chaser bin.

While quality brands of both mother bins and field bins are comparable in terms of safety and reliability, they are distinctly different products doing similar jobs, and there are some key differences between them.


an Ahrens field bin with auger being towed by a tractor


What are Field Bins?

More popular in Australia than mother bins, where more on-field storage is typically required. These small grain silos are easily transportable, can be placed in the field where needed, and can be operated by a single person.

While a type of silo, Field Bins are not to be confused with larger transportable grain silos, the more permanent flat bottom silos, or even the smaller sheep and cattle feeders available on the silo market.

Field bins come in sizes from 30 to 37 tonnes, and can be used as grain bins or field bins where on-farm storage is needed some distance away from larger silos or a grain processing facility.


  • Affordable
  • Single Person Operation
  • Gas Lock Sealed
  • Sight Glasses Fitted
  • Can be used for grain and feed
  • Fitted Auger makes filling and emptying a breeze


  • More difficult to transport (require multiple tractors or trucks)
  • Typically smaller sizes
  • Must be placed on firm ground


Harvester filling a mother bin with grain


What are Mother Bins?

Not to be confused with chaser bins, mother bins are built to make quick harvesting and transport easy, and are popular in places closer to grain harvesting points. Able to be filled as you harvest, alongside a chaser bin, and can be towed by a single tractor.

While these bins can be easily closed, they are not gas lock sealed, but are capable of holding large amounts of grain – some models of mother bin are built up to 150 tonnes. Their ability to be towed by a single tractor or truck removes the need to keep moving smaller field bins.


  • Can be towed by one tractor
  • Available in sizes with larger capacity
  • Make transport easier


  • More complicated moving parts and wheels
  • Not gas lock sealed – shorter term storage
  • More expensive than field bins
  • Used for harvesting only, not feed


Get a quote on industry-leading Field Bins today

Ahrens Field Bins range from 30 to 37 tonnes, and are designed to simplify your harvest efficiency. With a range of gravity and PTO Field Bins, and an industry-leading 5-year warranty, there is sure to be a product that suits your farm’s requirements.

Across multiple generations and remaining Australian-owned, Ahrens have been manufacturing rural infrastructure Australians can rely on for more than fifty years, and our team will be happy to help find the storage solution that best meets your needs.

Contact us to learn more.

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