Over Capitalisation of On Farm Storage Assets Should Not Be the Only Consideration for Growers

– Matt Coleborne


In a part three follow on of Andrew Freeth’s research, I look more closely at his recommendations of managing grain in storage in Australia and where the opportunity for innovations exists to mitigate risks for growers.


Andrew Freeth spent two years undertaking comprehensive research as part of the 2015 Nuffeild Scholarship he was awarded. In September 2017, his report was completed and released. In what should be compelling interest for growers, he weighs up some of the considerations and risks in moving to or increasing on farm storage (OFS) capabilities.

Freeth states that growers considering a bigger role in the supply chain need to understand the additional management resources and the new service level expectations from end customers, and that growers will need to consider if they have the existing capabilities (or can gear up to them) to meet customer needs. Some of these key considerations should include; wet weather access, fast loading and room to load large combination trucks including B-Doubles, road trains and B-triples.

Every grower understands the opportunity in servicing the end customer. If done well, it can add considerable value to your farming enterprise.

An important consideration when it comes to a grower’s storage asset utilisation is the trade-off between cost, ease of management and the ability to keep grain in condition and the need to ensure gas tight storage for fumigation. At the end of the day, being able to keep your harvested crop in top condition until you’re ready to sell it, is the best scenario for a grower.

This is where the Centaur platform can give a grower a big competitive advantage.

Created by agronomy experts and hardware engineers, our sensors bring visibility and predictability in the storage and distribution of crops. Centaur provides real-time condition monitoring and prescribes corrective actions based on continuous sensing of storage temperatures and fumigation conditions inside crop silos, freight containers, ship holds and warehouses.

Freeth details in his research the trade-off between the cost of the storage asset and frequency of use required for it to be economic. He puts it simply, the more expensive a storage is to build, the more it needs to be used to pay its way.

So, wouldn’t it make sense, that if a storage asset was also better to use, it would get used more often because it was more successful to use it?

The Centaur platform brings ready-to-use innovation to the storage environment and allows growers to deploy the same technology that the leading bulk handlers and carriers are starting to roll out. Its key features include:

  • Spoilage detection – Prevent spoilage before it happens. Predictive analytics minimise threats early and deliver healthier, safer harvests to the table. We help predict safe storage time and risk for mold as well as dry matter loss for a variety of stored crops. We use multiple sensors that provide real-time estimates and avoid surprises.
  • Pest control – Smart sensors and data analytics monitor and prescribe effective pest control treatment in real time. There’s no more guess work, as our software instantly delivers accurate treatment prescriptions and continues to learn and improve based on its use all around the world.
  • Climate control – Track your crop’s storage conditions 24/7 and intervene before anything spoils. The Centaur solution fuses local weather forecasts with micro-local storage conditions, allowing unprecedented visibility into the core of your product.

If you’d like to join those growers and bulk carriers in Australia that are already piloting our solution, please contact me directly in Australia by email at


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