Cropping

Consider bunker storage before harvest time

By Rodney Woods

On-farm bunkers can save hours of travel time and are an alternative to increasing silo storage this close to harvest, according to Ag-Crete's Glen Morley.

Large quantities of grain coming off the headers can result in numerous trips to receival sites and slow turnaround times, making logistics and transport a juggling act.

Mr Morley, from the Kerang-based business, said he knew of one case when turnaround time for trucks delivering to a receival site was six hours for a farm only 30 minutes' drive from the site.

“This meant the header had to stop harvesting for long periods of time, increasing the risk of loss due to bad weather,” he said.

“In this case, the grower didn’t have to stop for bad weather or anything else, it was simply because the truck was held up at the receival site.

“With harvest just around the corner it is likely too late for many to increase silo storage capacity, but growers still have time to implement on-farm bunkers.

“Growers with sufficient on-farm storage don’t need to worry about truck turnaround time and also have more control over the sale of their grain.”

Mr Morley said growers needed to think about site selection when considering building a bunker on-farm, as this would affect both the ease of use and the ability to maintain grain quality.

“Growers need a site that can easily be accessed by a semi-trailer, and the orientation and slope of the site needs to be correct to make it easier for loading and ensuring the bunker remains weather-tight,” he said.

“You want the bunker to slope away from the prevailing wind, because it makes loading a lot less stressful if the tarp isn’t flying around.”

A cost benefit analysis for grain storage can be viewed at: https://storedgrain.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/GRDC-Economics-Book-2013_LR_Final.pdf

The main benefits of bunkers, as compared to purpose-built sheds, are:

¦ They are a fraction of the price, and can be installed, moved or sold relatively quickly and easily;

¦ Compared to bags, they hold a lot more and are less susceptible to damage;

¦ Compared to silos, they are about one-sixth of the price, depending on the quality of the silos selected and the storage volume required.

The key points for getting the most out of on-farm bunkers include:

¦ Choose your site wisely and ensure it is prepared properly;

¦ Set the bunker up properly from the beginning, make sure everything lines up and is put together accurately;

¦ Use a good quality ground liner and tarps;

¦ Make sure machinery and site is clean before use to minimise pests, and no grain is left lying around afterwards near the bunker.

For more information, phone Ag-Crete on 54504400 or email: sales@ag-crete.com.au