Riverina producer Richie Lees believes every grain grower should have on-farm storage, to increase efficiency at harvest time and give them more control over the price they get for their grain.

Richie, who grows wheat and barley on Old Trafford near Griffith, has gradually built storage space over the past twenty years, and now has around 12,000 tonnes of capacity in Cyclone silos.

“I got into the on-farm storage because it saves a 60 kilometre round trip to the local receival site during harvest,” Richie said.

“We have our own harvester and two trucks, and in a big year they would struggle to handle the job if they had to travel into town and back.

“On top of that, it’s almost impossible to judge weights correctly in the paddock, so you run the risk of overloading and being fined, or being under weight and losing money on every trip.

“So the silos eliminate many of the little issues that can take valuable time in the middle of harvest.”

Richie’s first Cyclone silos were installed in 1988 and have stood the test of time, prompting him to double his capacity in recent years.

“They’re made in Australia using heavy duty steel, don’t let in any moisture and I think they’re very good quality.

“Sausage bags don’t give you the long-term options of silos, which can limit your decision-making when it comes to marketing,” Richie said.

“For instance, we would have received $150 per tonne for the 2005 crop, on-farm at harvest. The silos let us keep the grain for 20 months, when the price was $450 per tonne. That won’t happen every year, but can make a big difference to overall profitability even if it only happens occasionally.”

Richie also firmly believes that growers need to consider their profits, not the up-front price of grain.

“Unless you know your cost of production, the grain price is meaningless,” Richie said.

“Not only do you have to factor costs for this year, you have to make sure you’re getting a price that lets you cover the years of droughts and other crop failures.

“Taking into account the infrastructure costs, chemicals and lost interest for 20 months, we were well in front with the 2005 crop, and the efficiencies at harvest gave us an even better overall profit.”

Cyclone’s National Sales Manager, Geoff Cooke, agreed there are many benefits for growers from having on-farm storage.

“You take greater control over your grain from harvest to market, which is important with the increased options available since deregulation.

“If you have multiple silos, and get the mix right, blending different grades can provide a better overall return for your grain,” Geoff said.

Cyclone silos have the additional benefit of being modular, making it simple for growers to add incremental capacity by having the existing silo raised and a new section added.

“Our silos have heavier gauge steel sheets at the base so they are strong and stable. They have a wide corrugation profile and no internal obstructions, which reduce the risk of ‘hang-ups’ that can harbour insects and fungi and lead to grain spoilage,” Geoff said.

“Not only that, but because they’re manufactured in Australia, buying Cyclone silos may not only increase your on-farm profits, but help to boost the Australian economy!”

For advice about Cyclone silos and grain storage systems, contact Cyclone Sales and Service on 1800 199 450 or visit