By Emily Folk
Running a successful and efficient farm can require storing significant amounts of materials. Whether you’re storing fertilizer, seeds or a portion of your product, it is important to take proper storage seriously.
Having efficient and safe ways to store things on your farm is the key to maximizing reliable production and profit, and it can also help make your day-to-day work easier. Here are five simple tips for perfecting bulk storage on your farm.
1. Consider Which Shapes of Storage Container Are Most Efficient
Creating efficient storage solutions in any context requires the management of limited space. If you want to make the most of the storage space available on your farm, it is important to come up with a well thought out strategy.
Consider the size of your building and the shapes of different containers, as well as the properties of what you are storing. When storing hay in a building, for example, the shape of bales may affect not only how much hay you can store but also how much moisture is retained. Round bales are more difficult to stack but retain less moisture. As you make your storage plan, consider all factors and maybe even break out a calculator if you need to determine how much storage volume you actually have available.
When deciding what kinds of storage containers are best for you, you may also want to consider using flexible bulk bags. These are reusable, easy to transport and often allow you to maximize storage space because they can flatten and mold to the shape of the storage space. If new bulk bags are too expensive, you can also find refurbished bags to fit most needs.
2. Take Precautions to Prevent Damage to Stored Goods
Once you’ve decided how you want to store in bulk on your farm, you need to research the ideal conditions for the goods you wish to store. Factors to consider include temperature, moisture level and length of storage.
Preventing damage is probably most important when storing the product you produce. Grain or other products that are stored improperly can become spoiled and unsellable. In order to avoid problems like mold and insect infestation, dry goods to a recommended amount and keep them cool and aerated once in storage.
3. Inspect Stored Goods Regularly
Taking precautions to prevent damage from mold or insects is a great idea, but even if you’ve done everything as recommended, you still need to check your stored goods regularly, especially if you’re storing something for consumption. Inspect your stored goods often, checking for bad smells, moisture or signs of insects. If something is wrong with part of your stored crop, you need to know sooner rather than later.
4. Follow Regulations and Check for Leaks
No matter what you are storing, there are likely regulations or guidelines about how to store it safely. This is especially important to remember if you’re storing petroleum or other chemicals that could potentially be harmful. Check with your state and local government to see what regulations apply to storing these chemicals on your farm.
If you are storing petroleum or other chemicals on your farm, be sure to have storage tanks inspected regularly for leaks or other problems. Not only is this generally required by law, it also ensures that a leak or malfunction isn’t draining away a valuable resource.
5. Clean Everything Thoroughly
One of the best things about storing in bulk on your farm is that many storage containers can be reused once they are emptied. Reuse of storage containers is cost effective and environmentally friendly, so it’s a good idea to re-use containers when you can.
However, before you re-use a container, it is important to clean it thoroughly. In order to ensure goods remain safe from damage, you have to clean out bags, crates and silos completely. This is also a good time to check for pests so that you can fumigate if necessary before you need to start storing again. By taking the time to clean all of your storage containers before re-use, you can ensure your goods stay in good condition.
Perfecting storage on your farm is essential to your continued success and productivity. With these tips, you can store goods in bulk on your farm while ensuring that they are stored efficiently and safely.
About the author: Emily is a sustainability writer and avid gardener. You can read more of her work on her site, Conservation Folks, where she writes about helping tomorrow’s planet today.