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Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Tell Me Why |

Why Do Farms Have Silos?

Why Do Farms Have Silos?

Farm storage has a different style of structure depending on the farm product that has to be stored. Safety of the stored grain is one of the most important considerations along with the pests such as rodents so that they cannot enter the round silos easily. Moisture is another factor which needs to be avoided in storing grains. This could be eliminated only with an airtight grain storage that a round silo could provide.

On most farms, next to the barn, stands a silo – a tall, round building with an umbrella-shaped roof. The silo is a storage bin for chopped plants which are used as livestock feed. Farmers use machines to chop up corn and other plants. The chopped material called silage, is then blown in at the top of the silo. Inside, the moist silage ferments and turns slightly sour. This prevents the growth of organisms that would otherwise cause the silage to spoil.

stored grain

Archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that silos were used in ancient Greece as far back as the late 8th century BC, as well as the 5th Millennium B.C site of Tell Tsaf, Israel. The term silo is derived from the Greek σιρός (siros), “pit for holding grain”. The first modern silo, a wooden and upright one filled with grain, was invented and built in 1873 by Fred Hatch of McHenry County, Illinois, USA.

Silos make it possible for farmers to supply livestock with juicy, vitamin-rich food all year long. Nowadays, three types of silos are in widespread use – tower silos, bunker silos and bag silos. The primary function of a silo is to provide protection from the elements to increase the storage life of the grains. Silos are also a crucial element in the overall operation for the entire system of grain storage. As well as this, silos support monitoring equipment used to track both the temperature and quality of the grains.

metal silos

Metal silos have the capabilities of handling a multitude of products with regards to agriculture and are an extremely important aspect of the farming industry as a result. Agricultural silos work by creating a pressurized area within a cylindrical container. There are several different types of silos. They all vary slightly in design but operate in the same manner to prevent animal food from rotting.

In addition to keeping food safe, the bottoms of silos can be removed from the rest of the unit, allowing the contents to be unloaded. Food is removed from silos by using farm machines known as ‘unloaders’. The food must be removed within a certain period of time to keep the contents of the silo fresh.

There are more options than ever before when it comes to choosing a silo. There are many different types that cater for different requirements. However, no matter which silo you choose, the contents must be free of insects, mold and chemical residues. When considering on-farm storage and deciding which silo to go for depends entirely on your requirements, your livestock and the type of contents the silo will be holding. Different types of silos include:

Sealed silos – The purchase of a sealed silo is an important investment for better grain insect control. Insects must be controlled in stored grain as they damage grains and excrete moisture that can migrate to the headspace and cause molding.

Silo bags – A silo bag is good for the storage for grains, even when they are wet. It is made of a three-layer (white/black) film and offers UV protection.

Aerated silos – An aerated Silo is specifically designed for fine powders. The material is aerated by pumping air into the bottom of the silo, causing it to act as a fluid whilst the materials discharge from off the bottom of the silo.

Content for this question contributed by Ella Santoyo, resident of Kirkwood, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA