Grain storage system on agricultural farms is used to minimise the loss of grain by storing it safely and properly. Due to the lack of proper management of grain in a modern storage system can cause 20% – 100% grain loss which may cause unstable food supply. There are many storage methods available but among them, grain silos are the most popular. The reasons behind grain silos popularity are affordable price and easy maintenance. The most appealing reason is the rich history of grain silos. Grain silos were first used by the ancient Greeks in the ancient world. This method has been accepted by the whole world for its easy maintenance and portability. This specific grain storage method has been developed throughout the century and many modern grain silos came out. The modernisation of grain silos would reach at its peak because of the continuing development of technology.
Grain silos are now being used worldwide. And there are different types of grain silos in the different regions. Grain silos could be made by metal, cement or steel. And the types defer from country to country due to the economic status and weather pattern.
Followings are some popular grain silos used in different regions and countries:
Metal silos are made by galvanised metal with a flat metal top and usually a flat metal bottom with cylindrical in shape. A manhole with a cover is located to one side, usually in the top panel and an outlet pipe with a padlock is provided at the base of the wall. Metal silos are used to store large quantities of grains, over 25 tonnes. Small silos with the capacity of 1 to 10 tonnes are also available. It has been reported that metal silos are used in Guatemala for over 50 years. This types of grain silos are mostly used in the developing countries like Swaziland, Bolivia and India. Large capacity metal silos are placed on a concrete platform without the base plate. Providing a cover is essential to avoid unreasonable variation of temperature and moisture.
Tower silos are cylindrical shape structure and invented by Franklin Hiram King. The height of the silo is 10 to 90 meter and diameter 3 to 27 meter. Tower silos can be made of wood staves, cast concrete and steel panels. The constructing costs and durability can vary due to the materials used to make the silos. The capacity of these types of grain silos can be very large, it depends on the farm size. Tower silos are mostly used in Australia, Canada and the USA. The advantages of tower silos are high capacity, long durability and less damage on grains. Some silos have the feature of keeping grains in low –oxygen atmosphere which prevents decay and mould of fermented contents and also, keep the grains in high quality.
Synthetic Silos and USAID Silos, Nigeria
1. Synthetic Silos
Using synthetic material it is possible to develop a small scale storage bins. Some countries use this types of grain silos. The materials that are used to make synthetic silos are Butyl Rubber and high-density polyethylene. This types of grain silos are too expensive and prone to damage by pets.
2. The USAID Silos
This silo placed on concrete pillars or stone supporting a concrete slab one and half meters in diameter. The silo is made by earth bricks and plastered inside with chicken wire mesh. The roof of the silo is dome shaped. The capacity of this silo is typically one tonne.
Schapfen Mill Tower, Germany
The Schapfen Mill Tower is located in Ulm, Germany. The silo tower was built in 2005. The height of the tower is 115 meters. Since the demolition of Henninger Turm in 2013, it has become the tallest grain storage silo in the world.
The Burkino Silos, Africa
This type of grain silos is made by earth bricks in a domed shaped. Capacity and models can vary from farm to farm. The base is made of stabilised earth and roof is made of earth bricks. The dome-shaped roof technique is not easy to master and constructed using a special wooden frame. Constructing this type of silos requires skilled worker. The Burkino silos are mostly used in the African countries.
The Dichter Stave Silo, Benin
This type of silos are cylindrical shaped and developed in Benin, Africa. It is constructed with concrete blocks supported by steel wire. The outer and inner walls are smoothened by cement. There is a manhole in the cover slab and an anti-theft outlet in the bottom.
The Ferrocement Bin, Cameroon
The silo was first developed in Cameroon and used by some of the African countries. The capacity of this type of silos is 10 – 15 tonnes. This silos is similar to the Burkino silos and also made by earth bricks.
It seems that grain silos have been used for thousands of years to store grains. It is a popular method of storing grains without damaging the quality. Farmers should research and study while choosing grain silos. They should select silos according to their farm size and weather patterns of that region. Grain silos with advanced technology can increase farming efficiency and keep grains in high quality so that farmers can get the best from their crops. Using this kind of advanced technology in agriculture will shape the future of agricultural industries. Always make sure to talk with experts before choosing grain storage equipment that suits for your particular grains.