Throwback Thursday: The development of grain silos

A moment from the past.

(Adapted from: Time cultivates winners. Senwes – A century of agriculture by Elize van Eeden)

In order to store grain properly, large corrugated iron stores, which were also known as packing stores, were erected for this purpose. By 1923, there were already developments that lead to the greater introduction of grain silos as the new agricultural technology of the time.  The first silos could receive grain in bags and accumulate bulk reception of grain.

A few years after the Second World War, there was a halt, a depot and several grain stores at virtually every railway station. In 1994, contracts for the erection of 14 grain stores to the amount of 414 312 139 pounds were noted. The funds were obtained from the building loan for which members of Senwes took responsibility, while cooperative funds were also made available for the erection of grain stores.
At grain stores, the delivery of grain still occurred in bags, but much of the bulk delivery of products was still transported by trucks. An increase in labour costs and the regular shortage of labourers gave motivation for the need for larger and safer storage solutions. In 1960 Senwes finally decided to take initiative and procured the services of engineers Fick and Hollenbach to introduce the sliding concrete construction method of vertical, watertight concrete structures that could take bulk grain at a tempo of 100 tons per hour, store it and then let it out again at the same tempo to be dispatched by rail. The fumigation of grain was also a lot easier in this type of storage facility. 

By the mid-seventies, Senwes was the most advanced Silo builder in South Africa. Silos with larger tube volume storing capacity were built. Senwes Silos were increased, expanded and maintained on an annual basis. In 1979, under the leadership of Manie Erasmus, established a sliding concrete construction team, which built about 500 silos at railway stations. The average erection of grain silos in the Northern parts of SA was calculated at R43 per ton by 1992.