On-farm storage systems hold the grains, fruits and vegetables farmers work tirelessly to satisfy consumers’ demands. However, they have exceeded the yields for grain and corn these past few years, and current storage options have not been able to keep up.
This has caused tons of produce and animal feed to rot. The food industry already contributes a considerable amount of waste to landfills that has accelerated climate change, and this adds to it Food waste is a massive problem in the United States, so farmers are seeking other ways to store what they harvest in an environmentally friendly way.
Here are some sustainable on-farm storage systems that save food from being wasted and limit energy use.
Grain drums made from steel are one of the most sustainable on-farm storage options. Steel is a highly durable material that can withstand any weather and keep moisture out of the grains. Additionally, they are often made of recycled materials.
Steel drums can be built to take up space vertically rather than horizontally, which saves you real estate that can be used for more planting or livestock pastures. They can store grain for a long time, so it won’t spoil and go to waste as quickly as it would in plastic drums or containers.
Investing in a steel drum will provide you with years of use. If it breaks, you can fix it rather than have the entire structure replaced. Also, having on-site storage allows for continued harvest, which reduces the amount of grain that goes to waste from harvesting too late.
Farms have benefitted from solar energy for some time now. Farmers install solar panels to save money on electricity for their farms, and this power can also be used to improve storage systems.
Rather than letting the air and sun dry fruits and vegetables, dryers filter the harmful ultraviolet rays that can damage produce and reduce nutritional value. Additionally, the process is sped up because the dryer’s temperature is much higher than what’s outside.
Solar energy is free and can be reused repeatedly by farmers, and the dryers allow them to produce more fruits and vegetables. The dryers only hold crops for a short period to let them completely dry. However, less food goes to waste this way, making it a sustainable option.
This sustainable on-farm storage system keeps root vegetables fresh. It’s an old farming practice that aligns with modern sustainability. Root cellars keep produce at a lower temperature and away from the shade to prevent spoiling. They use the earth’s natural temperature below the ground, so there’s no need for electricity.
Additionally, root cellars don’t take up much space because they are built either below the ground or on the side of a hill. No above-ground structures take up valuable farmland. These would be great for farmers who grow smaller crops or produce for a local community rather than large-scale operations.
Before creating a root cellar, consider the land factors, like if it drains well or if it is stable enough that it won’t cave in. Otherwise, it is an extremely sustainable option because it stores your root vegetables for a longer time than just setting them outside. It allows you to utilize more land at ground level.
Choose Sustainability for Your Farm
More farmers are switching to sustainable practices by implementing one of these sustainable storage systems. They limit the amount of wasted produce and grains, allowing you to use renewable resources. Rather than letting your produce perish in plastic bins or bags, choose one of these eco-friendly options.