Guide to buying silos

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.

  • 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 cooling.
  • Gas-tight sealable storage must meet the Australian Standard AS2628.

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.

Western Australia has no access to contact pesticides and the eastern states are under increasing pressure to follow suit to protect markets. The lack of access to contact pesticides 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.

While some manufacturers state their silos are ‘sealed’ or ‘fumigatible’ they are only suitable for fumigation if they meet the Australian Standard AS2628 for gas-tight sealing. That is, the five-minute half-life pressure test.

Look for a silo design that is easy to clean out when empty, particularly in aeration ducting where insects can survive in uncleaned grain residues.

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.

Opting for no ladders may save money on the purchase price but it’s strongly recommended to spent the money to allow safe access to the top. The contents of a silo is most often worth more than the silo itself so it makes sense to have a safe ladder to get up to monitor and manage grain in storage.

For more information see the GRDC Fact Sheet, Silo Buyers Guide or watch Philip Burrill explain the key features of quality silos in the video, Silos for Fumigation

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