Challenges and characteristics of the South American grain and oilseed postharvest system


  • R. Bartosik National Institute of Agricultural Technologies, Balcarce Experimental Station, Balcarce (7620), Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Email:



Concerning grain production, South America is divided in two main regions: 1) the Mercosur region (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) which produces more than 250 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds, and 2) the Andes Mountain region countries, which are net importers of these products. The main challenges related to grain postharvest that South America is facing are to minimize the quality and quantity losses; improve the food safety; enhance the capability for segregation and traceability of identity preserved (IP) grains; and incorporate technology to maintain the overall efficiency of the postharvest system. Among the critical points affecting the efficiency of the system are the shortage of permanent storage capacity; large storage structures which affects the segregation of IP grains; deficient transportation system (roads and railroads); poor management of integrated pest control system; and unsatisfied demand of formal and informal education in suitable grain postharvest technologies and practices. However, the region remains highly competitive in producing and delivering food for the rest of the world and it has demonstrated high capacity for incorporating cost efficient grain handling technologies. As a result, one of the main changes in the region was the appearance of the silobag system for temporary storage of dry grain and oilseeds. Each silobag can hold approximately 200 tonnes of wheat and with the available handling equipment is quite simple to load and unload. During the 2008 harvest season, more than 33 million tonnes of grain were stored in these plastic bags in Argentina (including corn, soybean, wheat, sunflower, malting barley, canola, cotton seed, rice, lentils, sorghum, beans and even fertilizers). The silobag technology is also being adopted not only in neighbor countries, but also in countries around the world such as the USA, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Russia and Ukraine, among others.

Keywords: Logistic, Transportation, Storage Capacity, Hermetic Storage






Section: Around the World of Stored-Product Protection