The food items that we consume every day provide us with all the nutrients, micronutrients, and minerals that we need to grow as well as repair ourselves whenever we fall ill or injure ourselves. Plants and animals are the primary sources of food items that are produced or obtained through animal husbandry and agricultural practices. The storage and preservation of grains are also a crucial part of the supply chain for which modern science has invented different types of grain pest control methodologies and equipment such as ultra-sophisticated grain preservation machine.
Overview of Grain Storage
With the global population increasing by leaps and bounds with each passing year, food supplies are in a never-before demand the world over. As a result, the crop yields have also gone to a new high which in turn have called for ultramodern storage warehouses for food grains.
Food security is something that the whole world is talking about today, and in various countries right to food has become a law as per the constitution of the concerned countries. Unfortunately, there is a great difference between the availability and access to food. People can access food only when the availability is ensured in the right way to tackle the problems such as malnutrition and hunger.
As for grain preservation, crucial steps need to begin right from the farm where a large number of pests, insects, weeds, and crop diseases start damaging the grains. When left unchecked, these external factors can damage the entire crop resulting in food scarcity across the globe. When it comes to the storage warehouses, there might be many factors that can affect the quantity and quality of grains on a large scale.
Some of the most significant contributors to losses include:
- Rodents, and
- Different other biotic components.
The storage and preservation techniques followed by the temperature adopted can also result in a huge loss of grains due to so many abiotic factors. Given below are some examples:
- The discoloring of crops or grains
- Deteriorated quality of grains
- Badly germinated seeds, and
- Decreased weight of the crops or grains.
All these factors together have a drastic impact not only on the quality and quantity of the grains stored but also on the marketing regimen causing a great loss for farmers and those who are involved in the storage process. To avoid all these unfavorable situations, regular monitoring of the warehouses needs to be done apart from the proper treatment that grains call for. Before and after the storage procedures. All parties involved need to make all-out efforts to control the factors that might lead to the huge loss in quality and quantity.
As stated at the very outset, the preparation of grain storage starts right from the farm. All the grains need to be properly cleaned before storage through stringent and fail-proof cleaning procedures. The drying process is also a crucial part of the grain storage and preservation process. Therefore, before the grains are sent to the warehouse, it is necessary to make sure all the grains are properly dried not only in direct sunlight but also in the shade, completely. Fumigation is also considered to be necessary as far as the prevention of pests in the grains is concerned.
The importance of grain storage at a glance
Given below are some points that highlight the importance of proper preservation and storage of grains and harvested crops:
- Grain storage is always a cost-effective option in comparison to the situations that might arise otherwise
- In a country like India where the population is in an ever-growing mode, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) ensures the supply for the country’s people by buying and properly storing the grains in its warehouses across the country
- Proper grain preservation and storage ensure that all the supplies are intact in quality and quantity for a longer duration
- In case there is any food emergency in any part of the country and the world due to any specific reason, these stored grains are used to supply food
- Proper grain storage also ensures that evenly distributed supplies reach the needy throughout the year, and
- Stored grains are immensely helpful in case of emergencies such as famines.
Factors that affect grain storage and preservation
Facts reveal that more than 10% of the grains during storage get destroyed completely. Discussed below are some of the biotic and abiotic factors that are responsible for such a huge loss of grains:
Biotic factors stand for all those living organisms that destroy grains or harvested crops. Some of such common organisms include:
- Insects, and
There are more than 100 insect species that can damage the stored grains. Some of the most prominently dangerous insects include:
- Rice moths
- Rice flour beetles, and
- Indian meal moths, etc.
The group of grains that all these insects attack includes:
- Maize, and
- Dry fruits.
Apart from living organisms, so many abiotic compounds also damage the stored grains on a large scale. These compounds include the level of temperature, the quality of air in the ambiance, and the level of humidity. All these factors also might have a drastic impact on the quantity and quality of the grains. Warehouse and granary temperatures are big acting agents causing a huge grain loss during storage. High temperatures are responsible for making the grains sweat, and develop fungus and mold resulting in poisonousness.
Therefore, to ensure zero loss, it is necessary to take all the grain security measures and precautions as per the new-age facilities and resources available.
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