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Storage: It’s in the bag

Guest post by Edith Munro

US Farmers are adopting the Prairie practice of grain bagging, especially within the Dakotas and Minnesota.

“They’ve been bagging grain in Canada for 20 years,” says Dave Nelson, senior vice president — sales, for Loftness Manufacturing. “We started making bagging equipment in 2008 and we’ve seen growing interest all along. In 2014 we saw tremendous increases from the previous year.”

According to Nelson, good crop yields, low prices, full grain elevators, and rail shipping delays created a “perfect storm” for farmers searching for storage capacity in 2014.

“That bodes well for bagging, especially for growers who face a long haul from field to elevator. They can just bag [grain] in the fields and keep on going,” Nelson says. “You don’t need trucks. You don’t need truck drivers. You can haul the grain from the bags as you have time after harvest when the elevators aren’t full and there aren’t trucks waiting in line. You can significantly increase your harvest speed.”

Grain bagging, originally used for silage production, involves unloading from the combine or a grain cart into a grain bagger attached to a tractor and an auger, which pushes the grain into a polyethylene bag sealed at one end. A typical 300-foot bag can be filled in 30 minutes, holding 13,500 to 14,000 bushels of corn. Once the bag is full, the second end is sealed. In addition to corn, grain bags can be used to store soybeans, wheat, oats, canola, and barley.