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close this bookEnvironmentally Sound Technologies for Women in Agriculture (IIRR, 1996, 213 p.)
close this folderSeed production and storage
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentProduce your own wheat, rice and pulse seeds
View the documentStorage of grain and seed
View the documentSafe grain storage structures
View the documentImproved rodent-free grain storage

Safe grain storage structures


Grain quality in storage is affected by physical, chemical, mechanical, and biological factors.

- Temperature
- Birds
- Moisture
- Rodents
- Insects

Farm families work very hard to grow as much grain as possible from their small plots. It is a costly shame, therefore, that as much as 15 percent of what they keep for food, feed, seed, and sale is damaged or lost in storage. Considering that farm families store about 70 percent of the grain they produce, this amounts to a considerable loss. But something can be done. about these losses. The following are some grain storage structures especially designed to preserve and protect the grain crop.

Grain bins

Traditional storage bins

Farm families use various grain bins of local design, made from locally available materials, such as bamboo, clay, mud, straw, jute bags, bricks, and wood. Traditional grain bins can be grouped into two main categories:

- Those made of unburnt or burnt clay, stone slabs, or bricks used to store grains and legumes. These bins restrict airflow but are ineffective against rodents and moisture.

- Those made of bamboo, wood, straw, or other dried plant material, used for storage of paddy and maize. These bins allow free flow of air for drying but are open to insects, rodents, fire, domestic animals, rain, and subsoil water.

Improvised storage structures

Stone slab, brick, and burnt clay bins can be made moisture-proof by placing polythene sheets between two layers of brick or slab and by building the bin on a raised platform. Such structures are safe for effective fumigation.



Pusa bin



Metal bins -Outdoor design

Metal bins - Indoor design

Bins for community use and for urban households Many other bin designs are available. Larger bins can be used by several households or whole communities. Smaller bins made of metal or plastic are suitable for households in urban areas. They can be bought from commercial manufacturers or made locally. Contact the addresses below for more information.

- Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee brick masonry bins
- Structural Engineering Research Centre, Roorkee reinforced concrete bins
- M/s Pest Control India Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi-reinforced concrete bins
- M/s Polyethylene Film Industries Pvt. Ltd., Madras-high-density polyethylene bins
- U. P. Agricultural University, Pantnagar-Pantnagar kutala
- Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun-timber silos
- Space Research Institute, Trivandrum-glass fibre bins
- Division of Entomology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi - 12

List of insect pests and nature of damage

Common name/Scientific name

Nature of damage

Angoumois grain moth/Sitotroga cerealella severe.

Larva bores into the grain and feeds on its contents. Grains give off an unpleasant smell and appear damaged when infestation is

Rice moth/Corcyra cephalonica

When infestation is high, the entire stock of grain can be cov red in a webbed mass of larvae.

Indian meal moth/Plodia interpunctuella

Grain is damaged by active, crawling caterpillars which can completely web over the surface of a heap of grain with their silken threads.

Almond moth/Cadra cautella

Caterpillars tunnel into the stored food.

Khapra beetle/Trogoderma granarium

Grubs eat the grain, finishing with the embryo. In severe infestation, grains are reduced to mere dust.

Rice weevil/Sftophilus oryzae

Larvae and adults feed inside grain.

Rust-red four beetle/Tribollum castaneum

Does considerable damage to flour and flour products. In the case of severe infestation, flour turns greyish and mouldy.

Lesser grain borer/Rhizopertha dominica

Adult grubs cause serious damage to the grains, reducing them mere shells with many irregular holes.

Grain dhora (pulse beetle) /Callosobruchus drinensis

Young larva bores into the grain and completes its life cycle inside the grain. Pulses become unfit for human consumption.

Saw-toothed grain beetle/Oryzaephilus surinamensis

Scrapes off grain surface and burrows holes.

Long-headed flour beetle/Latheticus oryzae

Feeds on broken grains and flour.

Flat grain beetle/Crytolestes minutus

Feeds on broken grains.