CSIRO’s SME Connect team worked alongside HE Silos to validate the efficiency of their insect fumigation system and enhance the longevity of grain storage by facilitating a research project with Charles Sturt University.

Background

Award winning manufacturing company HE Silos services the agricultural sector providing on-farm storage solutions of harvested grain. The respected and innovative regional NSW based company provides its customers with an advantage in grain storage through technology such as its trademarked ‘Thermal Insect Control System™ (TICS™)’.

HE Silos’ Thermal Insect Control System

HE Silos accelerated testing through an Innovation Connections grant to enhance the longevity of grain storage.

Up to 8 per cent of grain is lost post-harvest to insect activity, costing farmers and the economy millions in lost revenue per year. According to HE Silos’, reducing grain lost from insect activity by 2 per cent equates to approximately half a billion dollars in Australia’s grain market.

The Thermal Insect Control System™ was born out of the company’s desire to enhance the longevity of grain storage, ultimately helping farmers increase their bottom line and improve on-farm safety.

Challenge

HE Silos needed an independent expert to validate the performance of TICS™ to demonstrate that its fumigation minimised insect damage and maintained grain quality.

A Facilitator from CSIRO’s SME Connect team worked alongside HE Silos to identify their requirements and facilitated a research project with Charles Sturt University (CSU) as part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Innovation Connections program. CSU has a large commercial farm and was able to provide a suitable site for the silo set up and operation. Led by lead researcher Dr Greg Doran, sensors were placed inside the silo that would allow monitoring of temperature, humidity as well as dispersal and concentration of the phosphine gas under different conditions. The silo was monitored over a 12-month period.

TICS™ is based on a thermo-siphoning system, a method of passive heat exchange which circulates the phosphine gas without the necessity of a mechanical pump.

Benefits

The research showed the silo held the fumigant for up to 8 weeks without loss of grain quality. Dr Greg Doran concluded the TICS™ is highly beneficial under different climatic conditions, including low temperature and low rainfall, while still providing fumigant concentrations that exceeds industry standards.

In addition, the silo’s newly designed ground operated remote control lid opening system, removes the need to climb ladders onsite to seal and fumigate a silo improving on-farm safety.

The Thermal Insect Control System™ has won HE Silos numerous awards and now that efficacy has been validated by the CSU study, the business and the Australian grains industry is set to benefit for years to come.

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