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Grain storage and handling


A farmer has the following storage options:

  • Deliver the crop immediately to the miller/processor
  • Use silo bags
  • Erect your own silos
  • Make use of commercial silos off-farm.

The commercial silo owners offer producers, traders, buyers and processors a range of facilities such as:

  • A time solution (by extended storage periods)
  • A choice of locations (extensive geographic distribution)
  • Balance sheet (crops serve as collateral)
  • Grid linkage (through road or rail transport)
  • Managing surpluses (through timely bin allocation)
  • Preservation (compliance with food safety and food hygiene requirements)
  • Security (extensive protection of commodities in storage)
  • Standardisation (by applying grading regulations)
  • Maintaining quality (through frequent inspections and preventative procedures)
  • Regulatory compliance (adhering to all required legislation) Variety of products (GMO-free, good milling quality, high oil etc.)
Source: Agbiz Grain

The advantages of on-farm grain storage are many, including the following:


  • The producer is adding value to his grain.
  • By cleaning and proper storage of his own grain, the producer can convert a previous cost item only into a small cost portion and a large asset portion.
  • After five years, a quality grain silo is paid for at roughly the same rate as central storage would have cost with the remaining 25 – 35 years; only the relative small operational and maintenance cost remains.
  • Large savings on transport can be realised.
  • Easier, automated logistics in the case of flow-through bins.
  • Proper grading and in the case of wheat for instance, blending up or down can realise huge additional revenue. Own cleaning of grain results in the producer retaining the screenings for feed and avoiding the penalty. Ensuring grain is delivered at the right moisture allows several percent higher realisation.
  • Grain can be stored for longer periods at lower cost, thereby taking full advantage of the time value of grain.

The only qualification to these advantages is that a proper, low risk system be installed.

Source: ABC Hansen

International business environment

  • Visit the website of Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS)
  • The International Production Assessment Division (IPAD) of the USDA-FAS provides global crop condition assessments and estimates of area, yield, and production for grains, oilseeds, and cotton –

A previous Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)-World Bank report, entitled Missing Food: The Case of Postharvest Grain Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa, estimated the value of grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa at around $4-billion a year (FAO, 2011). Find this and other reports on the importance of effective grain storage (to reduce the losses and boost the continent’s food security) at

Local business environment

Commercial grain silo owners provide storage facilities (grain silos) for the safe and hygienic care of grains and oilseeds for the owners thereof. The facilities have to adhere to the regulations and requirements of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and Department of Health regarding food safety.

A total storage capacity of about 17 million tons is available throughout the production areas in South Africa for the handling and storage of summer grains (white maize, yellow maize and sorghum), winter cereals (wheat, barley, oats and rye) and oilseeds (sunflower seed, soy beans and canola).

Commercial grain silos offer services like the following:

  • Grading at intake and out loading
  • Drying
  • Cleaning
  • Weighing

Further reference:

  • Find the full list of services at A map of Agbiz Grain members’ permanent grain storage structures (in interactive electro

National strategy

The storage of grain has featured in government programmes and plans like Fetsa Tlala and Agri-Parks.

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Find information on the different directorates at

Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB)

Department of Health

Further reference:

  • Read about requirements for Food Business Operators (FBOs) at This is a prerequisite for packhouses, processing plants, exporters, grain storage facilities, retailers and municipal markets.
  • Find all legislation which applies to the grain and oilseeds industry at

Role players

Note: Click to expand the headings below. To get a free listing on our website like the ones below, visit here for more information or place your order hereDisclaimer: The role player listings are not vetted by this website.

Staalsak – Category: EQUIPMENT: storage and milling
Vilko – Category: Commercial Grain Storage Owners
Overberg Agri – Category: Commercial Grain Storage Owners

Agbiz Grain – Agbiz Grain promotes the common interests of commercial grain handlers and storers.

Grain Tech – Category: SERVICES & OTHER
GPB Consulting – GPB Consulting are consulting engineers. They do feasibility studies, planning and layout of facilities for processing and storage of agricultural products.

Further reference:

Training and research

Companies involved

  •  The millers and animal feed companies also own silos. Please refer to the relevant pages.

NOTE: regarding the table which follows, interested parties should confirm information with the companies involved and/or by visiting company websites.

CompanySilos & other containersAugers & handling equipmentDryers, cleanersFeed Mills & mixers
ABC Hansen
Almaz Agro SA   
Big Dutchman   
Cango Engineering  
Diamond Implements   
GSI Group Africa
Jones Masjiene   
MBM Pan Mill   
Quadro Alloys   
ROFF Industries   
RSA Seed & Grain  
Silo Warehouse 
Silobag Systems   

Websites and publications

Agbiz Grain Quarterly – Contact Agbiz Grain for information.

Find details of the following eBooks at

  • Grain Handling, Storage & Drying Handbook. This is an excellent guide to plan your silo storage complex, “one of those things a processor or farmer will do sooner or later”.
  • Low Temperature & Solar Grain Drying Handbook
  • Managing Dry Grain in Storage
  • Dry Grain Aeration Systems Design Handbook

Call 012 842 4017 or email iaeinfo [at] for the following leaflets, available from the ARC in Silverton:

  • Bou van permanente sloot- en bunkersilo’s
  • Building of permanent trench and bunker silage silos
  • Hamermeul handleiding en toetsverslag
  • Handleiding vir die konstruksie van graansilo’s vir plaasopberging
  • Manual for the construction of grain silos for farm storage

Grading of maize and storage are two topics included in the excellent DALRRD marketing document Field Crop Marketing on It is part of a training series.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has a PDF publication for download called “Appropriate Seed and Grain Storage for Small-Scale farmers“. Download it from

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