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Corn+Soybean Digest

Adapting Silage Silos for Dry Grain Storage

Silo structures for silage have been used for grain storage, both wet and dry, for a number of years say experts from Purdue University. Bruce McKenzie and Don Jones Extension Agricultrual Engineers and Alvin Dale Agricultural Engineering professor have compiled information on how to adapt silage silos to store dry grain.

Although the first cost of a concrete or steel silo for grain storage is usually somewhat higher than the cost for a comparable volume round metal bin storage, the ease of adding concrete hoppers, the more efficient space utilization of the tall silos, and a structural form considered by many as more permanent, has appealed to many elevator and some farm operators, the experts say.

As farm operations change from year to year, a number of farmers find themselves with a silo that is not being used for silage. The structure may be too small, in the wrong location, or abandoned as enterprise organization changed. This publication is directed to the possible evaluation and adaptation of such silos for dry shelled corn and/or small grain storage.

General Considerations:
There are a number of general considerations that need to be weighed in approaching the evaluation of an existing silo for possible adaptation for dry grain storage. These include:

  1. The silo must be in sound structural condition, and hooped or reinforced sufficiently to store dry shelled grain.
  2. silo must have a roof.
  3. The silo must have a concrete floor, preferably built to a height above that of the surrounding soil grade around the silo.
  4. The walls must be reasonably moisture tight. The doors and walls must be reasonably air tight to permit forced aeration.
  5. The silo must have a fill system that will minimize grain damage.
  6. The silo must be equipped with an aeration system adequate to condition dry grain.
  7. The silo must be equipped with an unload system that will withdraw grain from the bottom center point--side tapping for gravity outflow is only permissible if the manufacturer will so certify.
  8. The silo should be in a favorable location for incorporation into a sound and efficient long-range grain storage facility.

For a look at the complete publication on adapting silage silos for dry grain storage, go to: www.agcom.purdue.edu/AgCom/Pubs/AE/AE-93.html.

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