Jada: Ehmke Seed galvanized scalehouse/ Cutting in Colby at twilight

Scale house

A scale view of the Ehmke’s scale house.

When the Ehmke’s needed a new building for their scale house, the family wasn’t thinking traditionally. “We knew we didn’t want something prebuilt,” said Louise. She went on to say we wanted something that reflected what we did for a living–a seed company. The idea of building a grain bin building soon became part of their vision.

The Ehmke's.

Vance and Louise Ehmke.

Vance and Louise grew excited about this vision and contacted their builder to see if their thought was even feasible. The builder said if he could see blueprints, he should be able to do it. The family contacted a architect to make blueprints and the grain bin building came to life one step at the time.


A photo of a bed and a stool made by Vance for the guest quarters upstairs.

The entire Ehmke family soon got involved. Vance chose the size of bin. If used for its original purpose, the bin would hold 25,000 bushels, but if comparing the building to a house it is around 2,400 square feet. The building’s skin went up in three days and commercial windows no wider than 2 ft were added so no framing was needed on its circular body. Culvert pipes serve as support columns for an upstairs deck that has a view of many of their fields.

Fence post

A photo of some of Vance’s war memoriabilia that graces the walls in the galvanized grain bin. One the guns pictured is resting on an old fence post Vance’s grandfather put in on the farm. Vance repurposed it into a wall mount.

The two level grain bin building was designed not only for the purpose of a scale house but for people to stay in if needed. The scale house has a view of a 80 ft scale and a place to weigh and test the wheat. The main level also includes 3 offices, a kitchenette and a dining area. The winding staircase leads to a bathroom and guest quarters upstairs.


A photo of the Kitchenette.

To finish the interior, Louise had a goal to use things that reflected the land and the family’s heritage. The building is furnished with some desks, benches, beds and decorative furniture made by Vance. “I thought of what the place needed and then Vance built it,” said Louise showing off a podium Vance made. The desks are made of corral wood and angle iron. The benches are also made from corral wood and at the top of each bench is a decorative, embedded 1886 coin dating back to when Vance’s family immigrated to Kansas. There also some pieces of furniture made from dead trees on the farm planted by family members. For instance a small stool upstairs was built from a black elm tree Vance’s grandfather planted. The trees used for the furniture are elm, walnut and locust.

 A bench Vance made with an 1886 coin embeddied in it. The area shows the Ehmke’s decorative flair.

The decor also depicts family’s heritage. “We love anything primitive,” said Vance showing off his fossil collection. Some historical items included in the decor are old railroad ties, war memorabilia, antique items used for measuring and sorting grain, and a framed flag dating back to 1861 when Kansas became the 34th state.   In addition to their collectibles, there are a lot of photos on the wall. Louise is a photography judge for 4-H and her children were involved in 4-H. The result is that the walls in one of the offices feature blown up photos the Ehmke children took while they were in 4-H.

Second level
A view of the grain bins 2nd level and the flag dating back to 1861 when Kansas became a state.

Located between Scott City, KS and Dighton, KS, the building was erected in 2001 and is quite a site to see. Everyone who visits gets to sign their name and the date they visited on the wall. As you can see by the photos, the grain bin building has proved to be the perfect reflection for the Ehmke family and their seed business.

Wheat separater

A photo of an old wheat thrasher, signature’s on a wall and the Ehmke seed logo.

Fun Fact: The building has been featured in Mother Earth News and HGTV’s Rezoned which labeled the building a “Kansas Galvanized Grain Bin”.


Cutting in Colby at twilight

To our surprise we were able to harvest as soon as we unloaded our equipment. The wheat tested around 12- 13%. It is just barely ready but we are able to cut below the highest moisture we can cut- 14%. After doing some repairs this morning we started harvesting around 10 a.m. The wheat is yielding around 30 – 40 bu/ ac. thus far and it looks beautiful.  Below are photos of us cutting in the Colby area around twilight.

Cutting at sunset

Johan goes to dump the combines.

Cutting at sunset

Carsten prepares to dump on the grain cart.

Cutting at sunset

Leon, Callum and Gabriel switch back to their original combines after swapping for lunch while another combine passes by on the other side of the field.

Jada can be reached at jada@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard 2010 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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