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A connected silos solution for cooperatives

A Connected Silos Solution for Co-op

Modern agriculture is now connected. Farmers are increasingly using new technologies on a regular basis: online weather forecasting, software dedicated to agricultural professions or monitoring of cooperative silos. Cooperatives also participate in this automated management of feed and agricultural supplies, thanks to the installation of sensors on their silos. The development of these new processes has led to a major step forward in the optimization of the stocks of agri-food products placed in silos.

With 2,500 cooperatives in France, the need for connected silos in the agriculture industry has become obvious. We are going to discover the solutions adapted to the management of the co-op’s silos.

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The advantages of having connected silos for an agricultural cooperative

An agricultural cooperative is made up of local members who participate to its development. Moreover, members can buy through the cooperative, agricultural equipment and professional supplies. This means of operation allows them to benefit from many advantages, especially when investing in expensive agricultural equipment. The group also gives the possibility to each member to obtain its agricultural supplies at a preferential rate.

The cooperative owns storage silos for raw materials and ensures deliveries to its various members. Connected silos have thus become a priority in the management of the products sold by the co-op. The aim here is to combine efficiency and quality in the mutualization of silos, on behalf of the farmers who are members of the cooperative. Installing a sensor on a silo is a clear advantage for monitoring stock levels.

Improvement of the services rendered to the farmer, member of the cooperative

The information from each connected silo linked to the cooperative is then displayed on a mobile application. This allows the co-op to have a global insight of the stocks on the whole structure. In this way, the cooperative improves the processing of its members’ orders, and responds precisely and immediately to any request from a farmer member. The silo manager is able to provide at any time the quantity of wheat (in tons) available in a given silo. He no longer has to travel to measure the stock level as he did before. This new way of managing elevators also helps to manage safety risks. The sensor therefore eliminates the need for visual control from the top of the silo.

Improved scheduling of deliveries from the co-op

Knowing, thanks to the sensor, the stock level of each silo is a precious help in planning deliveries. When a farmer orders wheat or any other agri-supply present in the silo, the manager instantly checks the availability of the quantity requested. He can thus optimally plan for future deliveries and forecast a replenishment for a given silo.

Automatic replenishment of the cooperative’s members

The automatic replenishment of the co-op members is nowadays necessary. A farmer must not run out of stock, especially of feed for his livestock.

By scheduling an automatic delivery, adapted to the needs of each co-op members, we avoid:

  • Order management at the last moment,
  • Emergency deliveries,
  • The cooperative’s additional logistical costs.

Thus, this automated managed replenishment greatly improves the purchasing chain of the cooperative’s members, by allowing deliveries to be adapted to the quantities actually needed by the farmer.

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What is the functioning mode of the connected silos?

The operating mode of a connected silo is very simple. Each sensor is attached to one of the silo feet in the storage area. Its role is to analyze and check the quantity available inside each silo. During a variation of the storage mass present within the silo, the sensor perceives micro-deformations at the level of its foot, which is analyzed then transcribed in tons by the application.

The co-op’s silo manager can therefore check the remaining quantity from his cell phone. He thus knows, for each of his silos, the exact quantity available, ready to be delivered to the farmers who are members of the co-op.

It is important to mention that the sensor’s accuracy variation is 5 to 10%. If this level of precision seems low, it is quite acceptable in the management of the co-op’ s silos. Indeed, contrary to conventional sensors, the granulometry of the products present in the silo does not enter into the calculation of the available quantity. The sensor only collects data relating to the mass present in the silo, without taking into account the specific density of the stored product.

How to connect the data collection sensor to a co-op silo?

The installation of a sensor is carried out by a certified technician. The intervention is the same on all the silos of the cooperative. At first, the professional fixes each sensor on one of the feet, then he sets the parameters of the device according to the level of products present in the silo. Installed at a maximum height of one meter above the ground, the sensor is then covered with protection against bad weather and shocks. Each sensor sends its own information to the application installed on the silo manager’s cell phone.

The future of connected silos in agricultural co-ops

It can be safely said that connected silos have a bright future. Whether it is the farmer or the silo manager of the co-op, all players are winners.

First of all, the farmer: the co-op’ s connected silos allow him to anticipate, adapt and automate his orders. It avoids any shortage, quantity error or logistic problem.

The co-op’ s silo manager: connected silos allow the agricultural sector to manage the activity of each silo much more precisely, as well as the latest orders and quantities delivered.

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