BINS VS SILOS
Which is the best storage solution for your raw materials?
by Rebecca Sherratt, Features Editor, Milling and Grain
n Milling and Grain magazine we work together with a great number of companies each month to provide our readers with the latest information regarding how to get the most out of your storage facilities. We have worked extensively with storage companies to establish the do’s-and-don’ts of how to care for your raw materials and yet, when you go back to the basics, there are still a lot of fundamental questions that need answering. Yes, there is a great deal to think about in regard to what specific type of silo or grain bin you need- but first things first- how do you know whether you want a silo or a grain bin? Which of these solutions will best suit your own unique needs? To understand which solution works best for you, let us first establish what each solution offers consumers:
Probably the more familiar of the two solutions to most individuals, silos are tall, slender constructions with domed rooves that hold moisture and raw materials together in a very tight seal. Keeping the materials in complete quarantine, a silo’s intended purpose is to prolong the lifecycle of the materials. These constructions have been a necessity of food production since as far back as the eighth century in Ancient Greece, the word silo (formerly ‘siros’) literally translating in Greek to ‘pit for holding grain’. The first wooden grain silo that can be seen as an influence for the very models we use today was invented in 1873 by Mr Fred Hatch in Illinois, USA. Silos are employed for a range of bulk materials including grain, wheat, silage, sawdust, woodchips, coal and cement to name a few. Standard storage silos usually range in size between 30-275ft in height and 10-90ft in diameter and are built with wooden
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staves, concrete staves, steel panels and/or cast concrete. To unload your silo of contents, farmers typically utilise unloaders, but this is a notoriously tricky business. Emptying a silo completely, in order to give it its recommended twoto-three annual cleans, is never a simple task and build-up of encrusted materials can be difficult to manage in such a lofty, thin structure.
Grain bins are the shorter and wider counterparts to the shapely, towering silo. Used to store grains between use and sale, as well as between harvests, they share a great deal of similarities to the silo, but it is important to also understand they ways in which they differ. The materials stored in grain bins often tend to be slightly lighter in weight compared to silage and they can also store powdered material with greater ease. These structures tend to often be suitable for a wider range of materials than when compared to silos, a key advantage if your farm deals with a wide variety of different produce. Grain bins are also widely adopted methods of storing soybeans, shelled corn, oats, wheat and a variety of seeds. Grain silos do not tend to store silage for livestock.