Agribusiness & Food

HE Silos keeps up with the trends

Following years of drought, fire, floods and pestilence, eastern Australia is now facing a mouse plague. Stevie Leigh Morrison and Karen Jolly from HE Silos explain how proper on-farm storage keeps farmers’ money in the bank.

ABHR speaks with Larry Storm, a business operations manager at HE Silos, to learn about some of the key trends in the silo industry.

HE Silos has been involved with Australia’s agricultural industry for more than 50 years, installing over 20,000 silos across the country.

Since its inception, it has grown from a small engineering company in Hillston, NSW, into a specialist silos provider.

Larry Storm, a business operations manager at the company, is responsible for driving further growth across the company and manages the day-to-day business across all departments.

Part of his role is to listen to customer feedback to improve upon the design of the company’s silos and learn where the gaps in the market are.

He tells ABHR that one of the key trends in the agricultural industry is a rise in on-farm storage.

“Farmers are starting to manage and control their grown products, which can open up new direct selling and niche markets,” he said.

“Selling at the appropriate times which can maximise profits, as they don’t need to deliver to bulk handling terminals where they are paid the market rate on the day.

“Building new or adding to their onsite bulk storage, including smaller storage capacity silos, can also help protect against market fluctuations, flood, drought, rodents, pests and availability of feed and seed stocks.”

HE Silos offer silos designed for its customer’s needs. The company can build silos for bulk storage, which are significantly larger to retain grain from the harvest, or provide smaller silos for seed storage and variety segregation.

The company takes many factors into account when designing its silos, including geographical location, regional climatic conditions, the type and variety of grains being stored and the type of storage – such as segregated, long term or human consumption.

Its silos are mainly used to store cereal grains, however, they can be found in a wide range of industries, such as pelletised and mashed feed mixes, granular plastics, pulses, beans, lentils, nuts, peas, fertilisers, and dry milled products.

HE Silos also aims to improve the strength and quality of its products using new, stronger, lighter and more durable materials.

Storm said all of HE Silos products are certified by third party engineers for the structural and design elements of its silos.

“We conduct finite element analysis on all of our silos to ensure we address structural failures and weaknesses, like buckling and shear points highlighted in the design software.

“We also conduct field tests and validations through our research partners at renowned NSW universities for any new products prior to market release.

“Sealed silos undergo an AS 2628-2010 5min half-life pressure test to ensure the correct distribution of fumigant within the silo.”

With the increasing number of farmers looking to store grain on-site, there has also been a growth in Agtech on farm. These often take the form of automated aeration control systems and grain monitoring systems for moisture and temperature control.

Storm said the most common reason farmers are adopting new technologies is to automate and eliminate some of the grain management practices and risks.

To help improve safety on farms, HE Silos has developed an award-winning thermal insect control system. The control system allows farmers to fumigate their silos without needing to climb on top of it.

All the company’s silos also feature a safety grid incorporated to the filling lid to stop operators falling inside, and all ladders meet the Australian Standards.

Storm said the company aims to continue developing its range and designs as demand for onsite storage grows.

“We aim to keep developing accessories that protect grain, to reduce post-harvest losses during storage,” he said.

“Improving and increasing the quality and quantity of grains available to the market is vital to us, because every grain counts.”

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