Are you one of those farmers who don’t compromise with the qualities and freshness of their hard-worked and harvested grains? Of course, no farmers want to compromise with their grains’ quality, especially when it is the ending season of their harvested grains. Farmers use grain silos to meet and tackle the challenging situations if storage and management of their grains she the season is ending. Therefore, if you want to know how these silos work and how they help farmers manage the quality and freshness of grain, go through this article thoroughly. I’m sharing almost everything you require to know about silos.
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Grain Silos:- One Of The Best Friends Of Farmers
I already discussed that farmers use them when it is the ending of the grains season. There is no objection that grains are prone to decay of the surrounding conditions are not better for them. However, we need to store them for long periods. Farmers have to use to store grains in their production stage, and doing that requires too much management. There can be no compromise with their freshness and quality as they are essential to human life for energy and nutrition. They are also necessary to regrow new grains. Thus, its management is done by grain silos.
They Help In Post-Harvest Management:
No farmers want to see their grains decaying or getting spoiled. Their key focus is to store grains for as long as possible. It becomes the root cause of farmers choosing grain silos. Silos have high storage capacity and are used for permanent grain storage for both commercial and industrial storage. They assist in Post-Harvest Management. So, that’s why they are also famously known as grain collectors and distributional centers.
Types Of Grain Silos:
If you consider its constructional material, most silos have steel or concrete materials. But silos used for grains are different in shape. You can find cylindrical, rectangular, hexagonal, or octagonal shape silos. Silo bins are also different in their bottom. Here I have listed types of silo bins.
- Silo bins with a flat bottom
- Silo bins with hopper bottom (it is also known as cone bottom silos)
Apart from these, you can still see tall tower silos, which were famous 40 years ago. But today, most farmers have chosen horizontal silos. Horizontal silos have various types. Like, built-into Hills Horizontal Trench Silos (they have soils as their walls), Horizontal Bunker silos have been built above ground.
Grain silos allow you to transport them if they have already been constructed. You can also build them on site. Based on this, here are types of silos used for grains you can see.
Walls Of Silos:
The type of silo decides what will happen to grains. For example, if your silo has a construction with ventilation systems and temperature control systems, they help grains to last long. Some silos can clean grains, dry them, and perform fumigation. Opposite to it, some silos only offer storage capacity if your grains have already dried. So, they have only walls.
Silos Open From Top:
These are conventional silos and are open to the atmosphere. You can consider it as the most common type of silos. Farmers can build them from concrete, and they have an openable cover that is easy to remove. These silos provide easy loading and unloading through the top opened part.
Silos Limiting Oxygen:
These are silos known as controlled atmosphere silos. Its purpose is to limit the total amount of oxygen supplied inside the silos. It replaces its internal atmosphere through the injection of nitrogen or carbon dioxide. These silos gave no openings. Thus, the loading and unloading of grains are possible through the bottom of silos.
How Do Silos Work?
Most silos will also provide initial grain processing functions like drying, cleaning, aerating, fumigation, and turning grains to preserve their condition. In many cases, silos have their unique structures, specifications, installations, and functions. But it depends on the requirements of managing grains and their primary-functions. Some modern silos have facilities like silo towers, storage bins, and many more.
There is no objection to it that grains feed the world and provide health, energy, and nutrition. Thus, these structures help farmers to store their grains for longer. Grain silos have not included any high-tech components. So, they are easy to use and easy to make work.
I already said that tall tower silos still have their place. But horizontal silos are quite popular. Most silos use vertical elevators to use gravity to empty silos. Auger transports newly harvested grains to the next destination, and there are requirements to control its temperature and moisture inside the silos so that it becomes possible to prevent contamination of grain.
Silo’s Loading System:
Currently, only vertical elevators are at the workplace to fill your grain silos. Most silos are tall and require an inclined conveyor system to fill silos. You can also use bucket elevators, but they are too expensive. Blowers are also helpful in blowing grains. But use them only if you are storing them for livestock. It is advisable not to use them for grains going to market because blowers can crack grains.
Maintenance Of Temperature
If the temperature inside silos exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you have to cool grains when storing more than 2,000 bushels. It occurs when warm air enters silos during circulation. So, farmers use aeration to cool down grains and reduce moisture. It increases the lifespan of grains.
Silo’s Unloading System:
Gravity is helpful to most silos when it comes to empty silos. They have openings near the bottom to remove grains. Auger will transport the grains from the bottom to another grain storage or to transport vehicles. While operating an auger, the top of the silos forms a funnel shape. If you stand near falling grain, grains can pull you into the silo. It may be life-threatening and cause injuries or even death. Tower silos or concrete silos use different unloading systems. The auger helps from the top to blow grains towards the stricture’s center and send grains through the doors.
Facts Related To Silos You Should Know:
- Silos have to deal with different people, and silos undergo unusual stresses.
- Some natural disasters like metallic corrosion, explosions, earthquake, unequal soil pressure, and other problems, can damage silos, and they may collapse.
- When silos collapse, some people may lose their lives if they are working with them.
- If silos collapse, the contamination of grains starts due to exposure to the environment.
- Silos may collapse without prior notice or say they collapse suddenly and damage their surrounding structures.
- Most concrete structured silos have no requirements of moisture sealing, but water may seep through some silos. But you can solve this issue by spraying outside of the silos having moisture sealant because it eliminates this issue.
- Some workers take help from grain vacuums to remove grains from silos or bins if they do not have augers. But they must have the machines with hoses to work like regular vacuum cleaners.
Post-Harvest Grain Management Example:
The exact process to handle and manage grains varies with each type of silos. It depends on the silo’s characteristics. Therefore, I have given a small yet practical example of grain Post-Harvest Management to make you understood this process.
At first, workers or farmers deliver grains into one underground pit. This pit has a protective layer against rain and has a unique design to allow transport vehicles to reach that pit. The elevator system will elevate the grains from that pit to the top of the silos through a conveyor system. Once grains have reached the top of the silos, workers can divert grain bins for storage. They can also transfer grains to the hopper for further transportation of grains. They can release grains from the bottom of Bins into a pit. Thus, one cycle of Post-Harvest Management of grains completes here.
Should You Use Silos Or Not?
As a farmer, you need to decide if you should use grain silos or not. These silos can become a great solution to preserve your grains, maintain their quality. They also increase the life of grains. But if you decide to store your grains in the silos, you require to invest your money, and some farmers think silos are not affordable to construct. But you can not ignore the truth about silos is they have a significant amount of storage capacity, and you can store a large number of grains. If you can afford silos, you should have one constructed at your place.
Could this article help you decide if you should construct and use grain silos to preserve your grains and maintain their quality? If you as a farmer have not used silos for your grains, I recommend that you should be using at least one silo to manage Post-Harvest grains if you can afford to do it. They can help for sure and increase your grains’ lives.