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All about flat grain storage

Among the various storage methods available, flat storage stands out as an effective and economical solution for optimizing space and preserving crops. In this article, we present the advantages of flat storage for farmers, as well as the various ventilation systems and handling solutions available.

Stockage à plat en bâtiment

What are the main advantages of flat grain storage?

Space optimization

Flat-bed storage offers a considerable advantage in terms of optimizing available space. Unlike storage silos, where storage capacity is fixed whatever the quantity of grain, flat-bed storage allows flexible use of space. This method makes it possible to adjust the amount of grain stored according to actual needs, offering great efficiency in the use of space on the farm.

Independence and crop management

The main advantage of flat grain storage is that it gives farmers total independence in managing their crops.
By storing grain on their farms, farmers can decide when to sell their crops. Whether they sell to millers, cooperatives or traders, farmers can choose the buyers who offer the best terms and adjust their sales according to market prices.
This autonomy gives them greater control over their sales.

Lower logistics costs

Flat grain storage on the farm also reduces the logistical costs associated with transporting cereals to cooperatives or storage warehouses. By bringing storage closer to the harvested plots, this method reduces transport costs and delivery times. What’s more, it gives farmers the flexibility to schedule harvesting at more convenient times, contributing to more efficient management of time and resources.

Controlling additional costs

By choosing flat grain storage, farmers can avoid the extra costs often associated with cooperative storage, such as drying and handling costs. This approach enables them to control the entire storage process, from crop reception to shipment, without relying on external infrastructures.

Versatile use of farm buildings

Flat grain storage of cereals in farm buildings represents a versatile solution for making full use of existing facilities. By adapting these structures with movable concrete partitions and suitable ventilation systems, farmers can transform their storage spaces into environments suitable for a variety of crops. This approach not only meets the specific needs of each crop, but also ensures optimal grain preservation, guaranteeing the quality and value of stored products.

Agricultural storage building with photovoltaic panels

The versatility of farm buildings goes beyond simple grain storage. Photovoltaic solar panels can be installed on the roof of a farm shed. Installing solar panels enables farms to meet part of their electricity needs, while generating additional income from the sale of surplus electricity. It also helps to reduce our carbon footprint.
In addition to storing crops or seeds, farm buildings can be used to store machinery or farm equipment, or to house livestock.

What ventilation systems are suitable for flat grain storage?

To preserve the quality of your stored grain, effective ventilation is essential to control grain temperature and humidity. Several ventilation systems are available for flat grain storage.

Duct (half-moon) or channel ventilation

Cereals can be ventilated using ventilation ducts or channels fitted with grids.
This system uses forced-air technology. Air from outside the building is blown into ventilation ducts or channels. The air injected into the heap is loaded with moisture and temperature before escaping.
Fans are used to propel the air into the channels or ducts, chosen according to the volume of grain to be ventilated. This system ensures even, efficient ventilation, preserving grain quality over the long term.

Duct ventilation for flat grain storage in buildings

Ventilation ducts offer an economical and practical solution, as they require no civil engineering work. They are placed directly on the floor. However, their main disadvantage is the difficulty of moving the machines around when the grain is being moved, which means that the sheaths have to be wide apart.
On the other hand, gutters, which are integrated directly into the ground, are designed for machine traffic. Unlike ducts, the channels can be positioned at the right spacing.

Grain aerator ventilation

Grain aerators are devices designed to be immersed in the grain, often suspended inside silos or grain heaps. They work by drawing ambient air through the grain and blowing it through a series of perforated ducts or tubes, allowing efficient air circulation through the grain store.
This ventilation system is useful for ventilating small areas, particularly those inaccessible to ventilation ducts or columns. It is also used to treat cereal heaps with excessive moisture. However, it is not suitable for ventilating an entire building.

Column ventilation

Column ventilation is an economical solution in terms of energy consumption. However, this system may be less effective at evenly covering the entire storage surface, leaving some areas less ventilated than others. In addition, it can lead to variations in temperature and humidity between different parts of the storage area, which can compromise grain quality and preservation.

Flat grain storage enables grain aeration to be controlled. In fact, despite air extractors, the silo is more prone to condensation on metal surfaces when there is a large temperature difference between the grain and the outside air.

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Handling solutions for flat grain storage

In flat grain storage, handling can be carried out with a bucket or chouleur. Loading is done directly from the bucket, possibly with the aid of a bucket to adjust the grain pile. Emptying is carried out using the bucket, which loads the hopper directly.
You can also use a screw equipped with a hopper for filling. The hopper can be fed directly from the trailer or via a bucket that picks up grain spilled on the ground.
An alternative to the screw is the “grasshopper”, better suited to protein crops. The grain sucker, driven by a tractor’s PTO or an electric motor, provides access to most storage spaces, avoiding the need for several augers between the grain pile and the trailer.

Transfer screw for flat grain storage in farm buildings

Of course, flat grain storage buildings can also be equipped with transfer augers, chain conveyors or belt conveyors, similar to those used for cell storage. The choice will depend on the size of the building and the volume of grain stored at harvest.
This handling system requires a roof-top access platform to install the equipment, and increases storage capacity by over 30%. Of course, ventilation must be sized accordingly.

Flat-bed storage is an efficient and economical method for farmers seeking to optimize space and preserve the quality of their crops. Thanks to adequate ventilation and suitable handling solutions, this method offers a versatile and practical alternative for bulk grain storage.

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