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), www.geaps.com
  • 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 – https://ipad.fas.usda.gov/

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 www.fao.org.

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:


National strategy

Find all legislation which applies to the grain and oilseeds industry at http://agbizgrain.co.za.

  • The storage of grain features in both the Fetsa Tlala and Agri-Parks programmes of government.

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) Find information on the different directorates by taking the “Branches” option at www.dalrrd.gov.za

Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) www.ppecb.com

Department of Health www.health.gov.za

Read about requirements for Food Business Operators (FBOs) at http://fbo.dalrrd.gov.za. This is a prerequisite for packhouses, processing plants, exporters, grain storage facilities, retailers and municipal markets.

Associations involved

  • Agbiz GRAIN Tel: 012 807 3002 www.agbizgrain.co.za Agbiz Grain supports and promotes the interests of members through representation and liaison with major role players in the grain value chain and related service providers.
  • Grain Handling Organisation of Southern Africa (GOSA) Tel: 082 042 3890 http://grainorgsa.co.za
  • The Road to Rail (R2R) Task Team is a logistics strategy group. Contact Agbiz Grain. See www.agbizgrain.co.za.

Training and research

Training is identified as part of the strategy to be a world-class player. Training in the silo industry includes the following courses:

  • Grading
  • Fumigation
  • Silo operating
  • Silo maintenance
  • Marketing
  • Stock management
  • Personnel management
  • General administration

Find information about the AgriSETA-accredited Grain Depot Manager Occupational Qualification at https://agbizgrain.co.za/uploads/documents/Grain%20Depot%20Manager%20Occupational%20Qualification/Final-28112018-Grain-Depot-Manager%20Qual_2019.pdfhttps://agbizgrain.co.za/uploads/documents/Grain%20Depot%20Manager%20Occupational%20Qualification/Final-28112018-Grain-Depot-Manager%20Qual_2019.pdf

Other courses include National Certificate: Grain handling processes, National Certificate: Grain Handling Processes 2 and National Certificate: Grain Milling. Find details under “Skills Delivery” at www.agriseta.co.za.

Learnerships and apprenticeships are a combination of on-the-job learning along with some theoretical training. The major part of the training can be offered on the farm. Find information on learnerships in the “Agricultural education & training” article, or at www.agriseta.co.za (under “Skills delivery” option).

ARC-Plant Health and Protection (PHP) www.arc.agric.za

  • ARC-PPR activities include research on fungal contamination, insect pests and rodent infestation of grain in bulk storage, mills and small-scale farming systems. Contact the Stored Grain and Oil Seed Research Unit at 012 808 8000 / 217 or write to PriceR [at] arc.agric.za.

Grain Quality and Arbitration Services (GQAS) http://grainquality.co.za

Grain Training Institute www.gtionlinetraining.co.za

Pest Management Academy http://pestmanagementacademy.com

Providers of silo equipment also facilitate training in grain storage and handling.


Companies involved


Commercial grain storage owners

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


EQUIPMENT: storage and milling


Fumigants & pest control

  • Advanced Integrated Pest Management Tel: 012 346 0162 www.aipm.co.za
  • Avima Tel: 011 048 2453 Stored grain protection pesticides
  • Coopers Environmental Science Tel: 011 979 4246 www.cooperses.com
  • Degesch SA Tel: 011 974 2338 www.degesch.co.za
  • Hamelin Traps Abel Mukwevho – 083 959 7781 Organic, multi-catch rat trapping system Find the news article “Pied pipers of Msawawa“.
  • National Fumigants Tel: 011 769 1300 / Tel: 031 765 3055 www.natfum.co.za


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

Company Silos & containers Augers & handling equipment Dryers, cleaners Feed mills & mixers
ABC Hansen
AC Trading
African Micro Mills
Almaz Agro SA
Big Dutchman
Cango Engineering
Diamond Implements
Grain Tech
GSI Group Africa
Jones Masjiene
Martinez & Staneck SA
Pan Mill
Quadro Alloys
ROFF Industries
RSA Seed & Grain
SBS Agri
Silo Warehouse
Silobag Systems


Services & other

  • ARC-Plant Health and Protection Roger Price 012 808 8217 PriceR [at] arc.agric.za Pesticide testing, rodent control research, mycotoxin analysis
  • Biomin Animal Nutrition Tel: 018 468 1455 www.biomin.net Biomin® CleanGrain liquid for the preservation of grains
  • eGrain mariana.purnell [at] egrain.co.za www.egrain.com
  • EKO Design Tel: 082 774 2953 www.ekodesign.co.za Professional engineering and management services: grain storage alternatives, grain handling systems, general grain management
  • Electronic Silo Certificates (ESC) Tel: 0860 372 372 www.silocerts.co.za Managing silo certificates online
  • GPB Consulting Tel: 021 852 7811 www.consultgpb.co.za GPB has been involved in the upgrading of a number of grain storage depots.
  • Leaf Services www.leafservices.co.za Official quality assurance services
  • Rhine Ruhr Process Equipment Tel: 011 609 0411 www.rhineruhr.com
  • Ronin Grain Management Solutions Tel: 011 608 3666 www.roningms.com Grain management system solutions, analytical grading equipment and grain handling services
  • South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Tel: 012 428 7911 www.sabs.co.za Pesticide residue testing for quality control and R&D purposes
  • South African Grain Laboratory (SAGL) Tel: 012 807 4019 www.sagl.co.za Grain analysis and related services
  • Techmach Tel: 011 762 1091 www.techmach.co.za Grading and other grain equipment


Websites and publications

Agbiz Grain Quarterly – Contact Agbiz Grain for information.

Find details of the following eBooks at www.abchansenafrica.co.za:

  • 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] arc.agric.za 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 www.dalrrd.gov.za (take the “Resource Centre” and then “general publications” menu options). It is part of a training series.

Maritz J. 2021, June 2. “The significant role of storage in the grain supply chain”. Oilseeds Focus, p. 38. Available at www.opot.co.za/imgs/oilseeds-focus/2021/oilseeds-focus-vol-7-no-2-june-2021.pdf

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 www.fao.org.

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