Types of Bulk Material Handling Equipment for Agriculture and Livestock Industry: Hoppers, Silos and More

a row of large white sacks on pallets

The agricultural industry uses many different types of containers to store and ship raw food ingredients. These materials often come in bulk, which can help companies move large quantities of goods quickly. But farmers and food manufacturers need to use the right type of equipment to safely move their inventory in bulk. Learn more about the types of bulk material handling equipment used in the agricultural and livestock industry to store your products.  


These large cylindrical towers are used to keep large quantities of grain and fermented seeds or silage. There are several different types of silos to choose from, including tower silos, mobile silos and silo bags.

Tower silos tend to be the most common in the agricultural industry. They are usually made of wood, concrete and steel. These structures tend to be 10 to 90 ft in diameter and 30 to 275 ft in height. The bottom of the silo can be removed for easy unloading. This can be a great way to store large quantities of goods, but they may be slow to unload. Workers can get trapped in a large silo when it is full of grain. This can lead to suffocation and death. No one should be allowed near the silo when it is full or being filled.  

Mobile silos come in a range of different sizes. They include a digital scale and monitor for weighing the contents of the silo. This gives both parties an accurate idea of how much is inside the silo. These containers can be loaded onto a truck when transporting large quantities of grain to a food processing plant. 

Silo bags are made of thick plastic tubes that come in different heights. The tubes tend to be between eight and twelve feet in diameter. A machine will pack the goods into the silo until it is full. It will then be capped at both ends for transport or long-term storage.

a shipment of large white sacks being moved with a crane


Grain hoppers are large trailers that are used for transporting large quantities of grain or animal feed. They can be attached to a truck for easy handling or detached for unloading. The trailer comes with a spout that makes it easy to dispense the product as needed. Most trailers are made with steel or aluminum. They come in a variety of lengths and widths and can carry up to 1,550 bushels.  

FIBC Bulk Bags

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC), bulk bags or super sacks are large bags used to store and transport large quantities of agricultural products. They are made of woven polypropylene (plastic) fabric and can haul anywhere from 500 to 5,500 pounds. Sizes typically range from 35 x 35 x 30 inches to 42 x 142 x 90 inches. Companies can use super sacks to store and ship virtually every kind of dry product, including grain, corn, flour, salt, rice and even cement. 

The bags are usually carried from the top using a crane or forklift. They can also be handled from the bottom using a pallet and a forklift. The bottom of the bag is then released as the product falls into the appropriate container. The bag will release dust and built-up static electricity when the contents are being emptied, so workers should keep their distance.

a forklift stacking large white sacks

Use Bulk Bags to Store and Ship Dry Goods in Bulk

Forklifts and Cranes

Companies need reliable machinery to safely move bulk bags. Forklifts can be used to move bulk bags inside the warehouse and on and off the delivery vehicle. They can also be used to unload animal feed into the trough. However, most forklifts will only reach between 10 and 15 ft. Workers will often use cranes and specialized forklifts when unloading bulk bags into a feed processor or silo. These machines can reach much higher than the average forklift, so companies often use a mix of both.

Other Types of Containers in the Agricultural Industry

Agricultural companies will also use metal storage bins to transport valuable items like seeds, motors, engines and other items that need the utmost protection. 

Companies will also use heat-treated wood crates when shipping farming tools and equipment. Many of these items tend to be extremely heavy or oddly shaped. Wooden crates can be built into practically any size or shape depending on the company’s needs.

These items are the hallmark of any agricultural facility. They are designed specifically for farmers that need to move their products quickly and safely.