Using silo bags, instead of steel silos, is becoming increasingly common for the conservation and maintenance of cereal grains due to all the advantages involved, which result in an optimal and quality product. Here are 7 reasons that tip the balance in favour of silage bags:
- Initial investment costs are reduced. Unlike steel silos, the capital to be invested in silo bags is much lower, since it does not involve the construction of a special facility to store the product. In this sense, the main investment would be made, for example, in the purchase of the machine for collection/extraction of the grains and filling of the silo bags. Also, silage bags are flexible and moveable elements, as well as the machinery involved that can be easily transported to different locations. It is a business model that does not require long term investment in fixed structures in a fixed location as is the case in steel silos.
- Storage capacity is unlimited. By not needing a fixed structure as it happens with a steel silo, all the necessary grain can be stored in as many silo bags necessary. That way, no grain is stacked on the ground once all the containers are filled t their capacity.
- A faster harvest. Due to the easy storage of the grain, directly packed in the field, the entire process for harvesting is accelerated. This, in turn, translates into greater profitability which means less labour time and fresher quality upon storage.
- The preservation time is longer. Once the bag is filled with food, most of the internal air is expelled, while the residual oxygen is consumed quickly producing carbon dioxide. All this process slows the natural metabolic process of the grain, while it extends the shelf life.
- It creates an environment protected from insects and diseases. As we mentioned in the previous point, once the silo bag is closed, a new interior environment is created with reduced levels of oxygen and rich in carbon dioxide. This environment helps to practically eliminate insects and mould, without the need to use chemical substances, which translates into a product without insecticides or fungicides. This is certainly an important factor, since by creating an unfriendly environment for pathogens, most mycotoxins, aflatoxins and yeasts do not evolve.
- The climate and environmental factors are not a problem. Silo bags help to protect the grains from climate changes and external agents that can affect the harvest. In general, these bags have a white outer layer that is specially designed to withstand UV rays, in addition to reflect the sun’s heat into the atmosphere keeping the product fresh and not overheating. Likewise, the entrance of sunlight is avoided thanks to the black inner layer.
- Grains can be stored according to the needs. Each company has specific needs for storage and classification of its products, which is why these type of bags allow several batches of grain to be stored in different, since they can be labeled, and it is also possible to physically separate the newest bags from those that have more time. In this way, the farmer manages to have a better control of which product will come out first and which can be maintained for a longer period, thus guaranteeing the quality at the time of sale.
In future posts we will write in more detail about trials that have been carried out in the storage process of food in silage bags, which prove their effectiveness in protecting the internal environment from insects and diseases.