There are so many grain storage options at your disposal that choosing the right one can become an overwhelming decision. There are a lot of factors to consider such as price, vessel, temperature, and moisture. To keep from overwhelming yourself, weigh each consideration individually so that the information is easier to process.
We’ll break this down and provide you with some detailed information about the grain storage options available so you can make an informed decision.
Important Considerations When Storing Grain
Avoid damage to grain by factoring in these important considerations when choosing the right storage.
1. Grain Temperature
When grain reaches a high enough temperature, it will sweat. This sweat leads to fungus and mold, making the grain toxic. Be sure to take temperature into consideration when choosing the right grain storage. Proper aeration is essential to maintaining its temperature so the storage must have adequate air flow. The amount of air flow depends on climate and the length of storage.
Proper aeration prevents sweating, which in turn eliminates all of the other detrimental factors mentioned above.
2. Moisture in Grain Storage
Moisture is conducive to the growth of fungus and mold. It also attracts pests. All of these are detrimental to the health of the grain. As we mentioned earlier, sweating is a big problem with grain but water can also find its way into grain storage areas and wreak havoc.
Grain should be checked regularly to make sure that the moisture level is right. So storage areas must provide access for grain testing.
Grain Storage Options
Each modern method of grain storage has its own advantages. Which one you choose will greatly depend on the amount of grain you need to store and how long you plan to store it.
1. Grain Silo
Grain silos are the most commonly known method of storing grain. They are great for farmers who need to store a high volume. They are also perfect for long-term storage as long as the proper care is taken. But as you might imagine, they are quite expensive.
Furthermore, silos are not a great long-term storage option for grains with high moisture. These types of grains stick to the sides of the silo and will struggle to funnel down into the augers that carry them out of the silo. Other options should be considered when dealing with high moisture grains.
You also need the right equipment to load grain into silos so that’s another consideration.
For smaller scale operations, small grain bins, usually crafted of steel are worth consideration. They are designed as hopper bottom bins and have a slide gate at the bottom of the bin.
Safety is another concern with silos since they come with several risks that must be mitigated. Grain dust is the biggest safety concern with large-scale grain silos. Dust is flammable and can lead to explosions. It can also cause respiratory problems.
2. Grain Storage Bags
Grain storage bags (also called silo bags) are a great option for storing grain. They work just as the name implies. They are bags that store specific amounts of grain. What makes this grain storage option so beneficial is its cost and versatility. Grain storage bags are a great option for small farmers who only grow limited amounts of grain.
This option is also a great way to separate different grain types and works well for transporting small amounts of grain. For instance, if you plan to take your grain to the market within a month of harvest, then this might be your best option.
Just remember that silo bags are a short-term solution. Storing grain for longer than a few months will severely affect its quality. When storing grain in bags, perform regular inspections to make sure pests have not infested it.
3. Grain Shed
This is the method of grain storage that most farmers use. The biggest benefit of using a grain shed for storage is convenience. Grain is driven straight to the shed when harvested. As you might imagine, this is not only convenient but since the grain requires less handling, manual labor costs are significantly reduced.
Grain sheds are large open spaces where you store grain. This space is generally used to store farm equipment during the off-season. Plus their open layout naturally reduces many of the safety hazards associated with storing grain.
In fact, enclosed grain sheds can protect grain for a long period of time without the costs associated with grain silos. The only downside is that the amount of grain you’re able to store is limited to the size of the shed.
Ultimately, the grain storage option you choose depends on a lot of different factors. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Silos are the most expensive option and only useful if you harvest too much grain for a grain shed to hold. Grain storage bags are only used for short-term storage. So a grain shed is the option most farmers go with due to its versatility.
With that said, do your homework before making this important decision.