Are Grain Bunker Tarps the Right Choice for Your Agricultural Storage Needs?

Polytarp is low-cost, strong and totally waterproof and can be manufactured in all shapes and sizes. Manageable sections can be easily produced and joined to produce fully weatherproof fabrics suitable for the largest scale agricultural applications, making them ideal for use as grain bunker tarps and grain storage covers.

Grain bunker tarps can be purchased cheaply at a tiny fraction of the cost of constructing permanent storage facilities, they do not require planning permission and covers can be easily rolled out at harvest time and stowed conveniently when not required. They can also easily be deployed in different locations the following season to ensure that the storage location remains practical, even if crops are rotated.

The cost savings and practically of using tarpaulin covers for grain storage have made them a common sight on farms; however, before opting for this low cost solution it is important to assess the benefits that the additional storage options will provide, and also to weigh these up against the cost of purchasing and installing the tarpaulins compared with the alternatives.

Conduct a Full Cost-Analysis

Grain bunker tarps and grain storage covers are practical and low cost, but it is important to first conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether grain bunker tarps are the best choice for your business. While increased storage areas can improve profitability it is important to factor in all costs and to consider the returns the same level of investment would provide in other areas of the farm.

Some of the advantages of on-site grain storage include:

  • Improving grade of the grain by cleaning or blending on-site
  • Reductions in staff costs during harvest
  • Avoiding paying high freight costs during harvest time
  • Holding onto grain to take advantage of higher selling prices outside the main harvest period

It is important to weight these benefits up against the costs of storage. Be sure to factor in the points below, in addition to the cost of purchasing grain storage covers to make sure on-site storage will be cost effective and profitable. These include:

  • Degradation of grain during storage
  • Repair and maintenance costs
  • Ground preparation
  • Pest prevention
  • Drying costs

Plan your storage needs ahead of time

The location of your storage area will be limited by the space you can dedicate to storage. While vast grain bunker tarps are possible, it may be more practical to create smaller storage areas and to purchase a number of smaller grain storage covers. These will be easier to install, as lightweight polytarp covers can be difficult to handle in very large sections. Large scale covers need to be manufactured in sections and joined on site, which will add to the labour costs and may require assistance from the manufacturer’s installation team. Be sure to factor these into your cost-benefit analysis.

Tips for purchasing agricultural tarpaulins

Grain bunker tarps can be manufactured to match any storage requirements, with many company’s able to produce many thousands of square metres of polyfabric per day. However, bear in mind that as harvest time approaches, agricultural tarpaulin manufacturers are likely to be at full production and delays may be experienced when ordering. Be sure to order early to make sure that your grain storage covers arrive in time and avoid the harvest time rush.

If you contact the manufacturer directly you should be able to purchase your grain bunker tarps at a lower price and it is usually also possible to negotiate discounts on bulk purchases. However quality can vary – especially with imported products – so be sure to buy from a manufacturer and make sure the tarps have been treated to prevent UV degradation. Also remember to ask manufacturer questions about installing the cover and get the benefit of their experience.

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