Storing Grains in Silos

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Grains are staple diets produced in bulk. Some common grains are rice, pulses, mustards, cereals etc. surplus production and off-season crops take up space for storage. A silo is a storage arrangement meant for storing bulk food grains. In agricultural terms, it's used for storing grains (wet & dry) as well as fermented feed also called silage.

Types of Grain Silos

There are multiple types depending on need, cost & designs. The most common type is the 'Steel Silo'. The cost for setting steel or concrete-type storage is usually higher than the cost of setting metal bin storage.

Some other types of silo are: cement storage, glass reinforced plastics, concrete stave, low-oxygen tower, fabric, modular silo etc.

If you look at the farm/village level, many farm operators can't handle the investments associated with bulk storages. Hence, they have developed efficient yet strong storage facilities which perform according to the needs. Such alternatives are: gunny sacks, metal/plastic drums, synthetic storage, 'Pusa' bin, 'Burkino' silo etc.

Considerations for choosing a Silo

The storage should contain a roof to keep dust & rain away.
The fill system should minimize grain damage.
The aeration system should be adequate enough to condition dry grain.
Its floor should be concrete.
The structure should be in sound condition to reinforce sufficient storage.
The walls should control moisture inlet while the doors and walls shall be air tight to allow forced aeration.
It should contain an unload system that will extract grains from the bottom central point.
It should be able to protect the grains from insects, rodents & birds.

Managing Silo Storage

Maintaining storage efficiency

It's all about the storage efficiency. A silo operator should perform continuous checks and evaluations to ensure effectiveness. Hoop size, spacing for grain storage, pest-control measures, cracks & other technical checks should be regularly evaluated.

Waterproofing

All storages are usually water-proof and do not require additional measures. But in case issues arrive, moisture sealing techniques like silicone-type sealant shall be applied.

Silo Floors

The floor level should be 8 to 16-inch above the outside grade for facilitating the installation of aeration equipment. Many install a 6" x 6"welded wire mesh to keep the cracks from opening.
The conveyor tube, center hopper and floor channel for partial aeration floor system forms the base of concrete floor. Hence, they should be wagered down rigidly.

Aeration

Aeration is necessary to maintain grain temperature. Once the given amount of dried grain's defined, the aeration system becomes pivotal. It has to supply a definite moisture content that will regulate the temperature.

Insect Control

Use methods like sanitation, natural resistance & chemical control to manage rodents and insects. Controlling insects mean reducing the losses by 20-30% and increasing the market value of grains.

Setting up a mammoth storage isn't an easy or cheap task. There are a lot of minute and important technical's to be kept in mind. One needs to have enough experience about the field to have the best system installed.

Author: Fahad A. Khan Published: 2016-02-24