The decision of which silo to buy can be daunting, mainly because it’s a 20+ year investment and not a purchase that is easily returned or traded-in if it proves unsuitable. The following information will help identify the key features to look for when purchasing silos.
- Buying silos is a significant, long-term investment – take the time to make the right choice.
- Consider the storage requirements for the next 20 years — not just the next season.
- For reliable insect control and grain quality maintenance, choose a gas-tight sealable storage, which also has aeration.
- Gas-tight sealable storage must meet the Australian Standard AS2628.
Quality in – quality out
Maintaining grain quality during storage relies on the ability to control moisture, temperature and insects. It makes sense to look for storage with aeration cooling as well as being gas-tight sealable for effective fumigation.
While aeration cooling won’t reduce grain moisture significantly, it will prevent moisture migration and lower grain temperature. Properly managed aeration cooling provides cool, uniform conditions throughout the storage, which discourages pest infestation and mould growth and maintains grain quality. An added benefit of aeration is that it can be used to ventilate a silo after fumigation in one day, rather than waiting five days.
Insect pest control
Western Australia has given up access to contact pesticides long ago and the eastern states are under increasing pressure to follow suit to protect our markets. This puts added pressure on fumigants, mainly phosphine, to control pests during storage. In order to control pests at all life stages (eggs, larvae, pupae, adult) and prevent further resistance, phosphine and other fumigants are only effective in a gas-tight storage.
In the same way that all farm machinery needs regular maintenance to keep it working reliably, so do silos, especially gas-tight sealable silos. A small gas leak can mean the difference between a successful fumigation and insects surviving, leading to loads being rejected upon receival.
Grain hygiene is the other important maintenance component. Well designed silos won’t have areas that trap grain and dust making them quick and easy to clean.
The WHS (previously OH&S) spotlight continues to shine on agricultural industries and is undoubtedly here to stay. Consider silos that meet state WHS requirements and more importantly can be safely operated by everyone on site.
While some silos come without ladders, mould and insects are often found in the top of a silo before they can be detected at ground level. The main options are to have an WHS compliant ladder, use a safety harness or build a platform that spans along the top of a line of silos.