As Australia moves out of a period of drought, the improved weather conditions have led to a boom in demand for agricultural silos. Eric Nelson, Managing Director of Nelson Silos, explains how his company is keeping pace.
Business is booming for silo manufacturer Nelson Silos, as farmers flock to increase their storage capacity.
Eric Nelson, the company’s Managing Director says the demand is partly due excellent weather conditions across the country.
“On the east coast, many of these farmers have just come out of a drought into near perfect weather conditions for growing,” he says.
“The price of grains and legume is also up significantly, which is improving profitability as well.”
On farm storage allows farmers to wait until they have a stronger negotiating position before they sell. Without storage, many farmers must sell their grain at harvest time when the price of grain is at its lowest.
Facing increasing demand, Nelson Silos has invested significantly into expanding its manufacturing facilities. Part of this has been installing a new paint booth at its main Rochester facility.
Instead of now spraying individual silos, the booth can handle two to three silos at a time. In addition, temperature controls allow Nelson Silos to dry the paint at a consistent 20°C.
Nelson says the paint booth can also apply spray to the interior of silos with specialised coatings to act as corrosion inhibitors.
“These are mostly for our superphosphate silos, which use a steeper cone and have a more robust and larger outlet,” he says.
“Superphosphate, depending on its type, is hydroscopic which means it can clump together. It can also be highly corrosive, which is why the internal coating is so important.”
In addition, the company has installed four elevating towers, with another two planned. Nelson Silo’s farm silos are built to handle up to 200 cubic metres in capacity. They are fully manufactured in the company’s factories before being shipped out across Australia. The elevated towers allow easier access to bolt in wall sheets and place the roof section on the silo.
Additional gantry cranes have also been purchased to handle the growing sizes of silos. Nelson says the demand for taller silos has meant the business has had to adapt.
Transport plays a major role within the business. The company owns a fleet of eight prime movers and eight low-loader trailers, along with three heavy trailers. This allows the company to deliver silos to Darwin, Port Headland or Kalgoorlie itself, instead of through contractors.
“We don’t use contractors because it gives us more control over the customer experience,” Nelson says. “Our delivery team can also do the installation side of things, with staff in the pilot cars for heavy transport vehicles.”
“That’s one of our secrets for reducing time spent on site. The people handling the installation have done it literally 50 to 60 times before.”
Nelson Silos is continuing further upgrade its manufacturing capacity. As part of this, the company is looking into building another assembly factory in northern New South Wales to streamline assembly.