Welcome back everyone! With the season shaping up to be one of the best it has in years, it’s so important to capitalise on that success rather than potentially waste it. Things sure have been very busy around here. Harvest has started in parts of Queensland, which means its only a matter of time before all of us need to roll out the harvesters and balers! So, with that in mind I’ve decided to prepare a simple checklist for all my readers to ensure their grain storage is ready to go.

Now, this process should ideally begin as soon as the harvest period is over, but I know life gets in the way and things get forgotten. Good hygiene practices on farm are vital to the health of your grain storage; and I don’t mean wash your hands (although that should be done often anyway!). Hygiene, when talking about grain, is all about avoiding infestations from pests. Sounds easy enough, right? Well there’s a lot to it!

Did you know that just one small bag of infested grain can produce well over a million insects over the course of the year, flying or crawling to different grain stores to start new infestations? Always keep in mind that pests thrive in dark, sheltered and warm conditions.

Let’s start off with cleaning!

Grain Hygiene Best Practice ChecklistNot Applicable Completed
Remove and discard any old grain left lying around in hoppers/bags etc.
Discard of any spilt grain, particularly portions over 20mm deep
Sweep/blow/vacuum all grain residue from your empty grain storage
Pressure wash your storage on a warm day and allow to completely dry
Thoroughly clean out any air ducts or aeration systems you have in place, these are an ideal location for pests to hide
Clean any machinery you may have that will come into contact with your grain (augers, conveyors, harvesters etc.)
Ensure trucks have been cleaned before being filled with grain

Now is the best time to do a thorough inspection of your silo and ensure it is maintained to a high standard. Your HE Silos Operations Manual (received upon delivery) will have a maintenance guide in it, where you will find a slightly more specific and detailed checklist for your product. I might add, if you do need another copy of your Operations Manual, please get in touch with our team.

Maintenance and Inspection of your Grain Storage Potential Issues Needing AttentionYesNoNot Applicable
Metal work- surface corrosion, compromised integrity of bolts or welds
Damage to any support struts from vehicle collision etc.
Foundations- any damage to concrete/footings (cracking/chipping)
Access points (ladders/stairs/handles/platforms) for corrosion and compromised integrity
Operation of hatches, latches and control mechanisms
Filling devices, unloading and discharge equipment (augers, conveyors etc.)
Guards on ladders and access points
Safety attachments such as safety line or harnesses
Visual check of electrical equipment such as leads and cables for any obvious damage
Bulging of container barrel or sides
Any seals or sealing devices checked for integrity
Warning signs and labels for fading or general wear
Pressure relief valves for proper operation

A few other things to consider:

  • Ensure the area around your storage is cleared of any low-lying branches or compromised structures
  • A good quality concrete slab will make it much easier to keep the area around your silo clean
  • If you do need to dispose of any grain, it should be well over a kilometre away from the rest of your stored grain

So, there it is folks. Your simple guide to prepare your grain storage for harvest. It is very important for you to conduct these inspections and clean appropriately. The viability and marketability of your grain depends on it!
As always, stay safe, look out for one another and maintain your silo!
Steve, The Silologist™