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Farm storage silos are structures designed to store grain and other materials in bulk or powder. These tall and narrow structures help farmers store their produce in less space.

The primary function of a farm silo is to protect the grains from external forces to increase the grain’s storage life

Farm silos are used in agricultural fields to store food products in bulk. They can also be used to store materials such as cement, activated carbon, or plastic resin, among others. Usually, farm silos tend to be cylindrical in shape with metal support, however, they are also built into rectangles and squares. Silos are built with wood, metal, stainless steel, reinforced concrete, fiberglass, etc.

What is the Use of Farm Silos?

On farms, silos allow farmers to store their grain, fermented feed, and animal slurry efficiently. Silos tend to have opening and closing provisions that allow the farmer to load and unload materials. Usually, the bottom of the silos is removed from the rest of the unit to allow grains to be unloaded. The grain settled at the bottom of the silo must be removed regularly to keep the contents of the silo fresh.

Most modern silos’ interior surface is lined with a special coating to avoid any reaction with the content stored. They are also built with monitoring equipment that helps the farmer track the grain’s temperature and quality. The primary function of a farm silo is to protect the grains from external forces to increase the grain’s storage life.

What are the 4 Types of Farm Silos?

  • Tower silos- Tower silos are the most common type of silos on farms. They are usually constructed with wood, cement, concrete, and steel, among other materials. Farmers use tower silos to store grain, fermented feed, cement, animal slurry, and woodchips. Augers or air slides are used to load these materials into the silos. Tower silos can even be unloaded into trucks or railcars. Farmers prefer tower silos because of their lower storage losses, less area of construction, and convenience to unload.

  • Bunker silos- Bunker silos are built underground and are trenches that are filled and packed with storage material using tractors and loaders. Bunker silos are made from concrete and a plastic tarp is used to cover them from above. Bunker silos are heavily used in the military to deposit and handle missiles. Usually, farmers that operate on a massive scale consider building bunker silos because it offers faster unloading rates, can hold large capacity, is well-suited to large operations, and can be filled using conventional farm equipment.

  • Bag Silos- Bag silos are plastic and hermetic bags or tubes that are used for the storage of grains and fodder in the field. Bag silos are extremely heavy and compacted using a machine. They are also sealed on both ends. Bag silos require lower capital investment, flexible storage space, and few safety and health hazards. However, it also requires specialized equipment to function and there is a high risk involved in storing grain in them because the farmers will have to incur a huge loss if the bag is compromised.

  • Silage piles- A silage pile is a type of silo constructed to specifically hold silage. Silage piles are inexpensive to construct and great for short-term storage needs.

What are the Benefits of Farm Silos?

The advantages of farm silos are that they require less area than a horizontal warehouse to store the same yield. Products can maintain their freshness because silos can create optimal conditions for storage. And the cost to store is lower than other storage systems.

What are the Disadvantages of Farm Silos?

Although silos are a popular means to store materials, however, there are still risks involved with them. For instance, fire and explosions are very common in grain elevators. People can become intoxicated due to the heavy use of fumigants and pesticides. There is also a risk of accidents due to the suffocation and inhaling of inflammable vapours.

First published on: 29 Jan 2023, 12:29 IST

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