Pros and Cons of Grain Storage Silos

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There are a lot of decisions that factor into which grain storage solution you will select go ahead with. Climate, resources, timeframe and your specific commercial situation will factor into whether you choose to invest in a silo, or instead go for a bunker, storage shed or storage bag. This article will reveal a few of the pros and cons that come into the equation when you’re looking at investing in a grain storage silo, which can help you make a more informed decision.

Advantages

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Less ground space

Being significantly taller than other grain storage options, silos hold the same amount of grain in a much smaller area in terms of land. The land is obviously quite expensive so there is an added economic incentive here in terms of the savings you can make on ground space required. Even if you have space, using a silo can free it up for other purposes.

Greater control

Having your grain centralised in one location means you are able to control its conditions much more easily and effectively. Keeping your grain at a certain temperature and free of insects and pests can help you keep your grain in an optimal state over the long term. Aeration in a tightly sealed silo is a simple, straightforward process once the infrastructure is in place, and ensures that populations of pests are kept to a minimum.

Compare this to smaller storage bins that are spread out across a property, where controlling things like temperature and pests is a more intensive job.

Loading and depositing

For many of the same reasons as mentioned above, collecting and transporting grain to and from a silo is significantly cheaper and more efficient compared to the alternatives. With the help of a relatively cheap grain vacuum or auger, for example, grain can be both taken out of and put into the silo quite quickly. This can reduce owner and labour costs.

Longevity

A well maintained, air-tight grain silo can last several decades or more, providing the ideal conditions for your grain through this period. When we’re talking about a structure of this size, it goes without saying that a stringent maintenance schedule is necessary to keep it trucking along for longer. But even before major repairs are required, some silos will last upwards of 25+ years.

Disadvantages

Large initial investment

Like with high capacity machines and systems in just about any industry, there is a cost that comes with the benefits discussed above. While this is no doubt the most cost effective and economical means of storing and delivering large quantities of grain over a long timeframe, the short term investment is going to be high.

This makes silos appropriate for well-established grain farmers that have a long-term business plan going forward, rather than players that are feeling out the industry or still learning the ropes.

Better options for short term storage

If you’re planning on storing grain for a shorter time period, there are more efficient and cheaper ways to do so. Under certain circumstances, grain storage bags may be a better option, particularly if you’re storing the grain for less than 3 months. While there are certainly other weaknesses that come with this method, they are relatively inexpensive, quick to fill and require less infrastructure and capital investment.

Safety risks

Given their great height (some reach up to 80 meters or more), there are obvious safety risks that need to be considered. While you or your staff won’t often be required to climb so high, inspecting the silo every few months will require a view from the top. Precautions need to be made and many silos are quite safe to climb, but the risk is certainly still there and certain Worksafe requirements need to be met.

As discussed in the article, there are clear advantages that come from storing grain in a silo and all things considered this is the most ideal solution. Of course this depends on your specific circumstances, so always take the time to consider your options and chat with an expert to get the right advice.

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How to Keep Up the Best Quality of Aggregated Grain?

For years, prices of different commodities and crops are fluctuating mostly in the earlier part of the year. Gathering the crop for a specific amount of time for getting the right price, can be a smart move. But often this tweak of getting the higher prices by gathering the crops can be failed due to the decreasing quality of stored grain day by day. You can maintain good quality by practising proper management norms.

Here are some tips to store your grain and at the same time keeping the perfect quality to get higher prices.

Try to Dry Grain Down to the Proper Moisture Level

Our recommendation is to dry the grain down to 13% if you are planning to store it for more than a year. Similarly, maintain 14% for less than a year and 15% for six months. You can presume that these limits are sort of optimum levels to acquire the perfect quality you are looking for after a storage period. Any disruption of those thresholds will notify that your grain storage solution lack some criteria for proper storage.

Implement Aeration Fans to Obtain Grain Temperature Below 50 Degrees Farenhite

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Make sure you are maintaining your grain storage systems in such way where the insects, mildew and fungus can not access. On this process, gradually lower your grain temperature to 50 degrees to 30 degrees Farenhite as soon as possible. In several types of research, it has been proven that most of the insects can not survive below this optimum temperature. Use aeration fans to obtain this optimum temperature.

Maintain A Low Temperature Within the Grain Silos

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You should maintain a lower temperature within the grain silos in order to obtain the ultimate quality of the grain eventually. In summer, it is expected to have a boom in temperature in every possible circumstance. But your objective should maintain the temperatures to make the insects dormant.

Review the Grain Regularly

Most grain storage solutions experts suggest that you must check the grain once a week in warmer seasons to get rid of obligations you have about your grain storage.

If you are up to the task of storing the grain for the better price, you can follow these steps at your convenience. You should adopt the storing tactics before your grain goes out of condition as far quality of grain concerns. It is always better to take proper measures before it’s too late.

The Importance of Grain Storage Safety

Grain Storage and Handling in Victoria, Australia

Like many other agricultural industries that rely on heavy farm machinery, maintaining a good level of safety throughout the working day is best practice at all times. Safe grain storage and handling conditions should be met at all times, and throughout the process there are a few important steps to take to ensure no accidents occur on your site.

Maintaining your grain in good condition is a great way to avoid any issues as badly maintained grain can cause flowing grain, leading to a number of possible accidents including entrapment. Grain entrapments mostly occur when a worker has entered the grain storage bin to break apart crusty of mouldy grain, causing the worker to be trapped by a grain flow.

Avoiding Grain Entrapment

Grain entrapment can be easily avoided with good grain management and upkeep, and is better avoided through the use of a number of grain storage products manufactured to avoid grain mould and crust. Advantec produces a number of grain aerators that allow moisture from the bottom of the grain bin to escape through the top of the bin, leaving no moisture or dampness, allowing minimal risk of crop mould or crust.

You should only enter a bin unless it is absolutely necessary, and instruct all workers and family of the dangers of grain bins and their hazards. Usually, you should see a funnel shape on the surface of the bin which is an indicator of good grain flow. If the surface of the grain is level, then there may be a necessity to break up the grain to resume flow.

Only break up grain from outside the bin using a large pole, and keep working at it from the outside until the grain is at a safe level before you enter to continue your work.

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Turn Off Your Machinery

Ensure that all grain augers and other machinery are turned off before you enter the grain bin, as any flowing grain will have the power to pull you under the grain. Ensure that you are using the proper, high quality personal protective equipment before you enter the grain bin, and always make sure that workers are supplied with the correct equipment and working knowledge of the gear before they even step in a grain bin.

On larger bins, using a body harness and safety line anchored outside the bin is necessary if prolonged work inside a bin is required. Always have someone else who is well practiced in grain storage bin safety on the outside of the bin, and maintain contact with them so both parties know what is taking place.

Many grain storage safety tips are common sense, but when put into practice can make a big difference is an accident occurs. Use the right tools for grain storage systems, use personal protection equipment and always have someone outside of the grain bin to help you out if there is an incident.

The Benefits of Permanent Raised Bed Farming

Those in the agricultural industry have started to see the advantages of permanent raised bedding farming, with significant research and development going into this practice. While it’s been practiced for centuries in many parts of the world, with Sustainable Agricultural Machinery Developments (or SAM) this method is now becoming commercialised. As far back as 1990, this system actually won the prestigious ‘Australian Invention of the Year’.  Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of such a system.

What are Permanent Raised Bed?

Conventional farming of vegetables is generally achieved via temporary bedding, which is created at the beginning of every season.

The other option for farming with raised beds in an urban environment, which is often considered preferable (depending on various factors) is to build permanently raised beds, which can be structured in a variety of ways.

Permanent raised bedding has been widely used for centuries in certain parts of the world where the rainy season is heavy and short, where excessive water can cause flooding and be harmful.

Indonesia, for example, historically experiences what can be described as a monsoon – where rainfall is intense for a short period of time every year. Under these conditions, permanent raised bedding offers water a means of draining the area more quickly, as gravity pulls the water off the bed. In some areas, crops are sewn in valleys and hills for the same purpose.

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Why are permanent raised bedding preferable?

In addition to providing a sound means of drainage by being on higher ground, permanent raised beds can be built with different kinds of soil that contribute to this further. Clay soil, for example, drains at a much quicker rate than conventional soil, meaning planting can be organised sooner in the wet season.

The soil also stays warmer, giving the farmer more flexibility with when the crops come to fruition. In addition, no preseason is required to ensure the land is ready for certain crops, so farmers have greater ability to change things up with the types of crops harvested. The soil quality also encourages certain beneficial organisms to remain here, including earthworms.

Overall, permanent raised beds are potentially more expensive to run and maintain, but they can make the farm much more efficient if coordinated properly.

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How does SAM’s Permanent Raised Bed Management System work?

SAM essentially provides the farming machinery and know-how needed to create and maintain such a system in such a way that provides a strong return on investment. There are two designs which work for any soil type, crop or farming scale. What is important is that it isn’t simply about building the beds – maintenance is a big part of the operation.

Put briefly, the process is about ploughing the field and creating the beds using what is called the Bedformer. Planting, weeding and various other crop management requirements are taken care of by the Bedlocker, which can be used for any crop. Weeding is also an important process here and SAM offers machinery to assist in this, reducing labour and time costs.

Lastly, once crops have reaped a yield, the SAM Bed Renovator is used to prepare the beds for the next crop cycle.

For more information about this process, we’d highly recommend taking a look at the Advantec website, which goes into greater detail about how amazingly this Permanent Raised Bed Management System works.

If not, feel free to contact us directly and speak to one of our efficient team members!

 

photo courtesy : https://www.agric.wa.gov.au

Pros and Cons of Grain Ring Usage as Temporary Storage

A great yield of crops always brings euphoria in the heart and smile of satisfaction in the face of a farm owner. But in some occasions of auspiciousness, the expectation of a farm owner is outpaced or literally outgrown by the crop production. Then this boon of extra yield brings some pensive frowns in the farm owner’s forehead as he gets concerned for that extra amount of grain handling and storage on a temporary basis.

In these moments of such crisis, there come grain storage rings as the perfect solution as being a temporary grain storage system which can hold grains for a limited life span.

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Source: Meridian

Of all the available temporary storage options on the market, galvanized Grain Storage Rings are such intermediate storage option which has the lowest cost per bushel. Grain storage rings can contain a large volume of the crop as these rings have a self-supporting design.

During years with bumper-crop production, grain storage rings are established as intermediate grain storage solution and this practice helps farm owners solve the dilemma of storing and handling redundantly produced crops which are more than the grain storage allowance or capacity. For modern farm operational needs, it is sometimes required to store grains outdoors on a temporary basis but in a safe way. This purpose can be served by grain storage rings.

Types of Grain Storage Rings

Grain storage rings come in two types – one is very basic, the wood rings and another is the more prevalent and useful one, steel grain rings. Both types of the grain storage rings are functional and convenient for short-term grain storage, but as both have some limitations as well it is recommended to not use those for longer periods of time.

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Steel grain rings are a bit pricey to set-up and maintain but serve with better durability comparatively. On the other hand, wooden grain storage rings are less heavy on the wallet but come with a shorter lifespan than that of steel grain rings.

Grain Rings Benefits

  • During excess crop production period, Readily Available
  • Requires minimal investment
  • Portability or Movability (Grain Rings can be transferred from one place of choice to another location of convenience)
  • Easier set-up or disbanding procedures
  • Reusable and usable for many times
  • Compact and can be stacked, when not in use

Limitations with Grain Rings

  • No added feature for heat management (aeration) or moisturization
  • Waste-prone as comes with collateral grain and materials waste
  • Risk of Damage from pestilence, wildlife, moisture and external contamination
  • Difficulty in loading and unloading crops
  • Limited Storage Period

Dealing with Grain Rings Limitations

It is evident that pest, wildlife and moisture damage are the major concerns while using grain storage rings for a temporary storage system.

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By using a tarp over the storage ring to keep the grain well-contained within, the grain quality can also be ensured and retained. Grain remains intact much better in quality than piling the grain mound in open space. To keep the rings and tarps in good condition they need to be dismantled and stored when not in use. If using steel rings, the tarps need to be replaced well before the ring wears out.

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And to deal with the limitation of heat management (aeration) or moisturization in grain storage ring, Aeration holes and in-load out-load ports can be installed into the ring.

Each of the cultivating and crop growing seasons is different in attributes. So it becomes difficult for farmers to anticipate or predict the exact amount of crop yield and the appropriate size of storage needed for the smoother hassle free farm operation. On the other hand, grain handling and storage facilities require deliberate investment in and thorough consideration of storage capacity needs.

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So the next time the grain silos are totally full, farm owners don’t have to compromise with enjoying a record amount of crop yield as there are grain storage rings to help them out. Advantec is ever-present at the service of Australian farmers and takes pride in helping Australian farmers to reach their fullest potential.

 

Advanced Grain Storage Systems and Their Benefits

With a record amount of crop yields in recent years, there has been a huge increase in investing in on-farm grain solutions. New technologies have helped improve grain storage for both long and short term use, and with a number of companies offering modular grain storage systems, the list of options for grain storage solutions is as varied as the technology used to store your grain.

One of the newer technologies has helped pave the way for flat storage grain buildings that use the latest in grain pump and aeration technology to make them low cost and simple to use. Usually made from a solid concrete floor and wall base, the structure is kept in shape with a solid steel framework and many companies now offer armour plated fabric panels for the roofing that are water-tight and are built to stay strong even at maximum capacity.

Flat Storage Solutions

Grain storage is made easier with a flat storage system compared to a vertical silo system. Grain trucks can be simply hooked up to the grain pump on the outside of the storage bin and with the latest grain pumps, able to relocate the grain to a number of piles within the long storage building using a series of auger type tubes that run along the roof of the structure.

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Image Credit : span-techbuildings.com

Grain can be easily deposited into the storage structure, ready for further transportation once the flat grain storage structure has been fully loaded. With two way pumps to transfer the grain to the delivery vehicle, it makes life easier in more than one way. Flat storage grain stores need a great aeration system to keep the crop in good condition, and with some of the latest sturdy fabric covers and bays that also include UV protection, your grain will reach distributors in the best possible health and condition.

 

Modular Grain Storage Structures

When it comes to temporary grain storage solutions, modular storage has been the hot topic in modern grain farming. One of the best solutions combines a concrete or tarmac ground base and uses steel barricade style panels to create a ring on the ground. The panels are secured in place via bolts into the concrete and then strengthened with more steel panels to fill in the gaps. A central aeration system is then put into place to cover the whole area of the temporary grain storage system.

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An extra aeration fan pipe is then set into place and the grain can then be dropped into the temporary storage structure via an auger. Cover is provided by the super strong tarp that is stretched over the grain and secured each side to water-proof your crop. These modular solutions are a great addition to any grain farm, and allow a number of different configurations to house limited or bumper yields of extra crop in a pinch.

Modular grain storage is the perfect addition to your storage solutions because it allows you to create a storage space for your precise amount of crop. Need a larger storage bin? No problem, just use additional wall panels to create a larger space to protect your grain in all different weather scenarios.

Future Technologies for Grain Storage

The future looks bright for the agricultural world when it comes to creating new means of grain storage technologies that help to maximise the quality of the grain and allows storage for even larger amounts. Grain aeration is one of the widely-discussed talking points in recent years when it comes to avoiding crop loss and damage, as there have been a number of advancements in the technology used to keep the grain dry and moisture-free.

It is thought that new inventions grain storage systems will become more beneficial to farmers as the efficiency savings that are made with on-farm grain storage is set to rise. Now more farmers than ever are looking to on-farm grain storage solutions, and as the costs come down and the ease of use gets much simpler, modular grain storage units and advanced aerated grain storage systems with bins will become the norm on farms up and down the country.

Add the additional agricultural technologies such as advanced survey drones that are able to gather much more information than it was available previously, and you will find that there has never been a better time to boost productivity and to minimise the loss.