With remote sites and valuable machinery in hand, secure farm and agricultural equipment storage is becoming an essential consideration for most farmers and rural industries. In this guide we detail some of the common uses for shipping containers in an agricultural environment and we look to answer some of the common questions posed by farmers and general customers.
Firstly to mention, we have related posts that might be of interest to readers of this post. Please feel free to click the links below for further info on each topic.
Shipping Containers for the Equestrian Industry – Tackles some of the same questions in this guide but this is tailored for customers who keep horses and run livery yards
Rural Crime Prevention: Resource page with links to a number of police websites and their own pages with advice on rural crime prevention, as well as the NFU rural crime report (2016) and some relevant farmers weekly online articles. Handy resource for anyone taking a good look at their rural security options.
Common Uses for Shipping Containers in an Agricultural Environment
There are a huge range of needs with farm and agricultural equipment storage, so we’ve tried to ensure our range is equally huge to meet these demands. Here are some of the more common uses for our products in an rural environment.
Small and medium sized agricultural machinery storage
Any plant or machinery smaller than your average tractor is highly attractive for a lot of undesirables. Expensive, small and often in demand or easy to move on. Quad bikes, trailers, bailers, ploughs, pumps, strimmers or brush cutters. If it has a value and isn’t secure you can’t assume it will stay put.
Guaranteed wind and watertight, all of our shipping containers offer excellent protection from the elements and are ideal for both long and short term agricultural machinery storage on a farm or smallholding.
Shipping containers offer an excellent level of security for farms and remote sites. Firstly they are anonymous, so you never know whats inside on first look. Their solid design and build ensure a high level of security.
When locked with one our high security lock boxes and an insurance rated padlock, you can likely add the contents of any shipping container to the insurance policy for that whole site. It will take someone with heavy cutting gear some considerable time to break into a shipping container.
Furthermore we can also help with a number of additional security features, such as a second different high security lock (meaning any would be thief needs to come prepared to overcome 2 separate and very different locking mechanisms), and we even have a range of battery and / or mains powered alarm systems that set of a loud siren and notify up to 5 mobile phones as soon as the alarm sounds (NB mobile reception required at your container). These are generally additional options to consider if you are planning for your container to get attacked. For many the shipping container can act as enough of a deterrent by itself.
Top tips if looking to store machinery in shipping containers:
- Check the door opening size on your container – this is smaller then the internal roof height and width and you want to make sure you can fit your stuff inside! (On our website, internal dimensions are shown on all of our most popular ranges under the “technical tab”)
- Will condensation be an issue? Condensation will always form on the inside of the roof as the container cools overnight. Some customers wont’ mind the odd drip on their machinery, others will. Please check out our ultimate guide to shipping container condensation treatment options for more info.
- For remote locations with a mobile signal, if worried about security consider one of our battery or mains powered shipping container alarms which has a loud siren and can notify up to 5 mobile phones immediately the alarm sounds.
Large agricultural machinery storage (Tractors, trailers, trucks combines etc)
If looking to store vary large machinery items, them there is fair chance these simply won’t fit inside a shipping container however much you may want to store them inside.
Fortunately if you need to store large machinery items, our range of container canopies can offer you covered working or storage space at a fantastic price. Our range of canopies can offer between 6 and 24 metres of covered space between 2x 20ft or 40ft shipping containers. They can also be extended so they can form a long ‘tunnel’ of any length in 20ft multiples.
In most cases the canopies will still class as temporary structures and be exempt from planning permission. We have 2 different makes of canopy but both are supplied by long standing professional businesses and we have a fair number of each type already in use both in the UK as well as globally. We can even offer a service to come to site and install these for you. There has never been a simpler way to provide large volumes of agricultural equipment storage
Hay and Feed Stores
Hay and feed need protection from both the elements and vermin on site. Shipping containers can offer an excellent solution. With a raised internal floor line and a sealed underside – we have not yet seen vermin get into a sound container (we have seen examples where the floros has been rotting away, but this is symptomatic of an extremely old container that has also not been properly positioned on site leading to the underside rotting over 10-20 years time)
Meanwhile the wind & watertight container will also keep you hay and feed protected from the elements. We will happily guarantee when properly locked, even the most cheeky livestock won’t be able to break in!
All shipping containers will have some condensation form on the inside of the roof as they cool overnight. to this end we can offer a number of condensation treatment. Weather you need this or not will depend on your exact setup (for example how you store the feed). However our Ultimate guide to shipping container condensation treatment options has all the answers.
Offices, Workshops & Break room facilities for farms
Site offices are extremely popular with small and medium sized farms as they diversify, either into new business areas for themselves, or if they fancy renting out office units for third parties to use. Both make great practical sense and when renting out can offer a solid long term investment.
Workshops are also increasingly popular, again with for your own work or staff, or to rent out to third parties.
Break and rest room facilities for staff, site visitors and perhaps contractors are becoming almost commonplace on a lot of remote locations. Staff want and need a dry & safe space to have their breaks, many employers find they can attract a wider range of labour when facilities are in place. (this fine country was after all built on a good brew!)
Fortunately we can not only offer all 3 at some fantastic prices, not only do we build most of these options to order allowing for a bespoke design for your specific needs, but the vast majority of these will also come in without the need for planning permission as they will class as temporary structures.
We have a super range of options including our made to order timber clad shipping container offices or welfare units. of we also buy in and refurbish a number of older containerised office units for someone looking for a cheap and cheerful option.
Made from corrosion resistant COR-TEN A-grade steel, shipping containers can make excellent field shelters. Able to put up with a fair bit of ‘rubbing’ and abuse from the biggest of livestock, when made from a used container you can still expect many years of good solid use with little to no maintenance.
These are all converted to order allowing you input into the size, colour and weather you want any additional features adding (eg hay net hooks, kickboards or similar)
You can see more pictures and details on our shipping container field shelter product page
Tack Rooms, Tools sheds and General agricultural equipment Storage
in any farm environment storage space is always needed. with rural crime on the increase its important to keep your valuables locked away and secure. This is where shipping containers can come into their own.
With our high security lock boxes and an insurance rated padlock, you can expect to be able to add the contents of any container to the insurance policy already covering the site.
For high end agricultural equipment storage we can offer lined and insulated shipping containers which will offer an ambient internal temperature and be free of condensation. or for general storage a basic shipping container from us will always come with our wind & watertight guarantee.
We can also modify or offer a wide range of accessories to help with general and day to day storage in shipping containers. we have various ranges of racking and shelving to help kit out any container, a diverse range of condensation treatment options, remote alarms, lights and more. Please feel free to browse our accessories area for more info on our additional options.
Log and Firewood Storage
Logs and firewood need to be seasons typically for min 3-6 months before resale. Many of our customers using shipping containers for log and firewood storage take used 40ft high cube containers, and get clever with some of our additional vent options, and the containers placement into or against prevailing winds to ensure a healthy circulation of air around the wood.
Depending on the seasonality of your operation, you may be able to use your shipping container for agricultural machinery storage for part of the year, using it for seasoning logs whilst this machinery is in use elsewhere.
Our adjustable Louvre vents can be fitted almost anywhere into a shipping container side walls or roof, meaning they can be opens and closed to achieve good air circulation. If you have a huge volume of logs to season our canopies will begin to offer fantastic value if looking to step up to industrial scales.
Diversify and open your own self storage yard!
Fancy get paid for providing other people with storage for their own gear? If you own the land, self storage can be a fantastic long term investment. Typically based on putting new 20ft containers into your site, and based on typical rental prices your containers should pay themselves off in 2-3 years, but the containers themselves will likely last 20-30 years i sat static on your site, with likely only minimal maintenance required for their lifetime.
Over a 10 year lifetime, container storage can offer between £25 and £55 per week in revenue (In some London areas), based on full occupancy a single container can bring in £13-29k, and the container itself is still likely worth about half what you paid should you want to sell up and move on.
Many self storage owners we work with report whilst some customers leave, the market is still growing and more customers want self storage units than want to leave. Typically a lot of sites simply top up with more shipping containers when they are at or near full occupancy and we can help ensure a consistent, standard range of shipping containers for your yard. This helps ensure you can maintain a near maximum occupancy rate. A lot of customers will take 30 50 or even more containers over time and many customers report that enough land is the major issue over time.
We’ve got our own detailed guide detailing 11 top tips to consider if you want to look at setting up your own self storage yard, and we have a lot of experience helping existing businesses diversify and set up their own self storage operation.
Common Questions from Farmers and Agricultural Industry Customers
How long will my shipping container last?
Shipping containers will last a very long time. They are all built from COT-TEN a grade steel. When this rusts the rust layer is not porous (it wont’ let water through the outer layer of rust) meaning it will and awful lot longer than other steel products.
Anecdotally, we buy in used containers that are 10-15 years old every day of the week. most of these will have some scratches to their paintwork in week 1 of service, yet the container we see 10-15 years later still only have surface rust, and we typically suggest they will be good for another 10+ years without issue (quite commonly a lot longer, even when sat outside)
The corrugated side walls in the shipping container are typically 1.6-1.8mm thick, and it will likely take well over 20 years for this to rust through. We’d guess a similar sheet of untreated mild steel would likely last 2-3 years at best.
Can I deliver a shipping container across a field or other soft ground?
Our delivery trucks must run over and operate on hard standing ground at all times. Our drivers will always have the discretion to refuse a delivery if they feel they risk getting their truck stuck or risk damaging their vehicle if they proceed.
However do do complete a lot of deliveries across paying fields and similar, although please don’t expect us to turn up with a tracked delivery field capable of driving itself across a freshly ploughed hillside. We will use standard HGVs for our deliveries.
If you can please flag to us any concerns you may have with the deliveries we are more than used to dealing with tricky sites. we will commonly ask for some photos or potentially a brief video walk through of the access into your site, and we can offer site surveys (normally chargeable) where we can send out a delivery driver to view your site in person and advise if a job is possible and / or what would need to be done to make a delivery possible.
There are however lot of other ways shipping containers can be moved into place. One of the most common alternative delivery systems we see for difficult deliveries into farms involve the farmer using a tractor with hay bale forks on and a hay trailer to move a 20ft shipping container. A standard new or used 20ft container will weight max 2.2 tonnes and comes with fork pockets accessible from the sides of the container. Some customers has asked us to deliver a container into their yard or directly onto a hay trailer, for the customer to then use his own tractor to get the containers this final mile.
Due the the diverse options with our 20ft shipping containers, this can give a lot of farmers the chance to develop area of their land that might otherwise not reach their potential, or to help a farmer diversify into new or different business areas.
In the first instance if you have any concerns about us being able to deliver a shipping container please mention this to us at the first opportunity and we can discuss your exact needs to ensure the delivery goes as smoothly as it can for you.
How can I be sure of the quality?
All shipping containers we offer for sale will have been sourced in direct from industry use (unless we make very clear otherwise). With used containers this ensures the container has been well looked after during its lifetime and is ‘fresh’ into the used market.
Buying older containers for agricultural machinery storage that someone else have purchased as ‘fresh’ some years ago does mean that you should expect a reduced lifespan. Whilst often offering a cheaper headline price – its worth checking any ages of container to ensure you get best possible long term value. Saving 10% will likely not serve you well if the container will likely have half the lifespan.
All of our containers are checked and if necessary repaired before resale in our network of container yards. We generally use the same depots as used by the major shipping lines and our repairs are carried out by people who do this day in day out.
Everything we sell is covered by our 12 month wind & watertight guarantee. If it naturally springs a leak or another defect is evident, if the container is on the UK mainland we will come and fix it free of charge, and if we can’t fix it we will replace it. This ensures the best possible peace of mind that your are buying a good solid shipping container.
Whats the lead time for an agricultural equipment storage container?
Most smaller volumes of new and used shipping containers will be in stock in our nearest depot and ready to go at up to 24 hours notice. Our hauliers typically book up circa 1 week ahead, but if you’re in a panic or have a deadline in mind let us know – we often have hauliers who can cover work quicker for us, but they may charge slightly more than our standard delivery option.
Can your delivery truck get to our farm or remote location?
In very basic terms, we do require you to provide a suitable site for our HGVs to get to , and operate on once on your site.
We do expect you to be reasonable, so whilst we don’t’ expect you to go and measure up all the motorway bridges on the way to site to ensure we fit, we do expect you to flag if there are any likely issues with delivery on the final approach into your site or once on your site.
This includes letting us know if there are any marked low bridges on the approach into site, hump back bridges, narrow lanes with low overhanging branches etc.
Also if we have to leave the public highway and cross any private land access to get into your site (for example across a private parkland or estate) then again you must provide a suitable site with suitable access for our truck.
As always if you have any doubts we are here to help and can offer support in this area so please do call us to discuss if there are any concerns. Our trucks will typically run at max 14ft 6 with a standard height container on our truck, or 15ft 6 with a high cube container o our trucks. Low bridges on public highways are singed if below 16ft 6 inches.
How much will a shipping container cost to buy?
Shipping containers are very much a commodity and prices for new and used containers will vary over time depending on current supply and demand in the global and local market, the steel price and the US$ to UK sterling conversion rate.
We’ve tried our very based to make it as clear and simple as possible to browse shipping containers for sale, get a quote and buy your own shipping container for farm and agricultural equipment storage. You can browse our online catalogue, where we list starting prices for most options (ex delivery). Regional variations to prices do apply so the website prices should be used and an approximate guide only. You can request a quote online if you have an idea of what you want for your own agricultural equipment storage, or please feel free to contact us, where our friendly team are here to help you understand the options and get the best value for money option. You can call our office direct on freephone 0808 1234 215 any time weekdays 08:30am – 7:00pm (Free from UK landlines and mobiles)
Despite the market movements in price over time, prices generally move slowly meaning prices will rarely if ever dip fast. Shipping containers offer excellent value for all forms of agricultural equipment storage both big and small, and whatever the weather you can be sure we will be here if you ever need any help or advice.