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Sometimes it is difficult to decide how best to store potatoes or onions: bulk storage or box storage.
How is a bulk store filled?
How is a box store filled?
It is clear that filling and emptying bulk or box storage facilities both require very different machinery.
The final cost of both types of storage is similar. Generally speaking, bulk storage facilities need more investment in machinery for filling and emptying, and infrastructure (like ventilation channels). On the other hand, box storage facilities need more investment in boxes, but the machinery for filling and emptying them is much more straightforward.
It is important to bear in mind that some potatoes (like new potatoes) or onions, especially short-day onions (in the tropics) are not firm enough for bulk storage, as they squash easily.
In general, we can say that produce can be bulk stored once it is hard and compact, like a ripe potato whose foliage is completely dead, or a long-day onion (with many hours of daylight) with a compact bulb and low water content.
If the potato is young or the bulb is not firm (few hours under light, tropical onions), it is better to store them in boxes.
Another advantage of box storage facilities is that several different owners can store their produce at once; in these cases, each owner will have their own box, imprinted with their own name.
The machinery for bulk handling produce is very expensive, but so too are boxes. Therefore, generally speaking, if the storage facility is very big then bulk storage is better; if it is small then box storage is better.
Do not lose sight of what matters in the decision about the firmness of the potatoes or onions which are going to be stored.
It will be clear that the equipment to fill or empty a bulk storage facility for potatoes or onions is totally different to the equipment to fill a box storage facility for onions or potatoes.
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