Grains, silos, storage and the IOT
Dr Imran Hassan is an Animal Nutritionist with 17 years" experience in compound feed manufacturing and the storage of grains
in all regions of Pakistan. He holds an MSc (Hons) in Animal Nutrition from the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad. Dr Hassan is currently working as an Assistant General Manager on-site of the Sharif Feed Mills in Okara, a major player in the compound feed manufacturing market in Pakistan, and is responsible for all operations including Processing, Quality Assurance, Research and Development and General Administration.
A current FAO report states that 33 percent of grain is spoiled on the journey from fields to mouths; this is a serious matter
in the challenge to address hunger. The era of silo storage has reached its peak and will continue to contribute to the percentage of spoiled grains unless good silo management practices are adopted and the IOT (internet of things) is used.
Grains that are stored in silos are at high risk of quality degradation for the consumer unless the safety practices for silo workers is improved by an awareness of good management practices known by the acronym – SLAM.
Sanitation: Disinfection and fumigation of the grain silos, (both practices are of vital importance).
We can control moisture by drying and temperature by cooling, both of which are highly cost effective and readily available. In this regard, homogenous distribution of blended grain distribution practice is recommended. This can be achieved by the use of a grain spreader or by the use of the correct coring practices.
Aeration: Silos are equipped with aeration systems, if these are not operated according to the weather conditions, grains will spoil.
Monitoring: All the above conditions should be monitored and controlled remotely with the help of IOT. The idea of a regional weather station with a field team to support, ensure and rescue the operations that change with weather changes should be organised by governments and the private sector.
Industry and academia should collaborate to improve performance and achieve the target of reducing the quantity of spoiled grains. Climate change is a serious threat for global populations and is changing the agribusiness; it is now the time not only to promote SLAM (good silo management practices) but also IOT.
Some of the big players in grain handling should help the developing countries to implement the measures described above.
Dr Imran Hassan, Assistant General Manager, Sharif Feed Mills, Pakistan.