Grain storage: Bunkers a cheap alternative

An Australian low-cost, low-technology to grain storage concept heralds the end of traditional skyscraper silos.
In its global search for a low-cost grain storage solution, a South African agri-business discovered an innovative bunker-style silo, designed and successfully deployed for 25 years in Australia. Australian management company, Aus {mosimage}An Australian low-cost, low-technology to grain storage concept heralds the end of traditional skyscraper silos.
In its global search for a low-cost grain storage solution, a South African agri-business discovered an innovative bunker-style silo, designed and successfully deployed for 25 years in Australia. Australian management company, Ausbulk, stores more than five million tons of wheat each year in its bunkers.
“These bunker silos are both financially viable and an efficient means of storing grain,” says At de Lange, managing director of Afgri Processing’s Handling and Storage Division.
Their efficacy stems from the fact that they can be rapidly erected according to the exact capacity shortfall of the region, moved from one location to another, or enlarged, as required.
The facility consists of a corrugated iron wall built around the storage space, over which a tarpaulin is tightly sealed to protect the grain from weather. It can be operational within two to four weeks.
The bunkers are especially viable for large scale grain storage. One bunker can easily hold 12,000t grain. By comparison, an average-sized – and much more expensive – traditional silo bin can store a maximum of 6,000t.
“Risk management is an integral part of bunker silo deployment,” says De Lange. “We insure against the risk of damage and, more importantly, train staff on the handling of the grain while in the bunker.
Staff have to ensure the bunker is properly covered so no rain can run in, and adequately fumigated to prevent damage,” he says.
An agreement with Ausbulk entitles Afgri to build and manage the bunkers in southern Africa.
Being involved in grain management in a number of African states, Afgri will be looking at rolling out the bunkers there too, says De Lange. Zambia could well be one of the first to benefit from this new technology.
De Lange: Tel +27-17- 624 1210; fax +27-11- 624 1225; adelange@afgri.co.za
Ausbulk: b.rogers@ausbulk.com.au
www.ausbulk.com.au