Due to global and local demand for food, lack of storage and fuel costs, grain bagging has become a simple and effective solution to the grain storage shortage. Places around the globe, like Argentina, for instance, have been using grain baggers for over 30 years and currently store 40 million tons of dry grain in grain bags. Show-Me Shortline has been bagging grain on their farm and selling Richiger grain bagging systems for over 10 years and most of the grain baggers on the market today have been modeled after the Richiger systems. Let’s take a look at some reasons you might choose to bag your grain:
1. Grain bags keep your grain protected in an oxygen free environment. This oxygen free environment virtually eliminates insects and molds without the use of chemical substances. Most mycotoxins and yeasts, including aflatoxins, cannot prosper in this anaerobic atmosphere that is hostile to pathogens.
2. Grain bagging gives you all the storage capacity you will ever need whether you need to store 30,000 or 1,000,000 bushels of corn, barley, soybeans, rice, canola, sunflower, or any other grain.
3. Fuel costs are decreased because you can bag your grain right in the field, and not have to travel back and forth to the grain bin, often located a distance from the field you are harvesting. Your cost for hired help can go down too, we have seen some of our customers decrease their truck and hired help load to half of what it was before they started bagging grain.
4. Time is saved, because with Richiger grain bagging systems, our R1090 10ft bagger bags at a rate of approximately 39,000 bushels per hour and our E6910 unloader will unload 9 or 10ft bags at a rate of approximately 13,800 bushels per hour. Because the bag is oxygen free, fans are not needed- eliminating any shrinkage of grain or electricity costs. Your cost for the bags will be only about 0.7 cents a bushel.
5. There is no property tax on bags, where there is with a fixed grain bin. And if you no longer need the bagger, you can always sell it- that’s pretty hard to do with a grain bin.
6. Bagging your grain gives you leverage to sell grain when the price is right, giving you back control of your grain and eliminates hasty decisions that can result in money lost
Having the option to chop your hay with your baler is a big deal. Why do you want chopped hay? We’ve listed the top 4 reasons that chopped hay can help you and your herd.
1. Chopped hay creates less waste. Cows don’t have to work as hard to get chopped hay out of the bale, thus not as much gets stepped on and wasted. In an article by the Western Producer, a University of Wisconsin forage specialist estimated that “feed losses associated with shorter pieces of hay are five to 10 percent less than those for standard forage lengths because less hay winds up on the ground.”
2. Chopped hay is digested easier. Chopped hay is digested easier and nutrients are gained in a shorter period of time, due to the surface area of bacteria in the cows stomach. Drovers online explains it like this, “Anything that decreases the particle size of forages also increases the surface area for the bacteria to attach, and this speeds up the rate of digestion, allowing the animal to get more nutrients in a shorter time.” One of our customers who bought a McHale V660 chopper baler from us said he found 20% better consumption from his cows with his bales being chopped, versus long stem hay he had used in the past.
3. Your cows will subsequently gain weight faster. This is an obvious one, but based on the last point- if the cow is digesting the hay easier and more nutrients are gained in a shorter period, they will gain weight faster than if the hay wasn’t chopped. From the Ohio State University Beef Cattle Newsletter states “I came to realize the potential of hay chopping from an observation I made two years ago at the OARDC Beef Center in Wooster. Steers fed a chopped hay based diet gained 2.5 lbs/day while those fed round baled hay (same hay source) in a rack gained less than 1.5 lbs/day.”
4. It makes other processes easier. If you use a TMR mixer, chopping your hay will only speed up your process of mixing since it is already chopped up. This will save you time as your mix will complete faster and you can move on to feeding!
There is a Farm Storage Facility Loan Program that can provide farmers with low interest financing so they can acquire new or upgrade facilities to store grain. This is great news if you are interested in buying a grain bagging system from Richiger this year! This loan has been available since 2000, but it was hard to determine whether grain baggers would qualify under the loan. But now it is clear that they do in fact qualify.
Grain bagging is an affordable and reliable form of grain storage and now with the loan program, it can make it easier than ever to store grain in grain bags directly in your field while harvesting or at your desired location.
Per the USDA/FSA website, the document reads that eligible commodities run the gamut and range from corn, sorghum, rice, soybeans, wheat, barley and oats- all grains that can be stored in grain bags. In the picture below you can see that it clearly states that baggers are eligible for this loan program.
So, have you considered grain bagging with Richiger yet? There are advantages like the fact that grain storage in grain bags is portable, so you can bag wherever you are or want to be- whether that’s directly in the field or an easy location on your farm like next to existing grain bins. Richiger baggers are easy to use, have durable bag structure and you know that the type of grain you put in is what you will get out. Due to anaerobic bacteria, this is an oxygen free storage system so moisture levels remain the same as the day you bagged the grain.
We get a lot of first time users ask about pest control when we talk about grain bagging, but don’t fear: we have been bagging grain ourselves for over 10 years and with a little thought and prep, pests will not be a problem. Obviously if there is already a major known pest problem in an area of your land, we wouldn’t recommend choosing that spot to bag. Also, we like to use ammonium nitrate underneath where our bags will go, to ensure pest evacuation (never use sulfur). If you don’t spill large amounts of grain outside the bags, animals will not be able to smell the grain from outside the bag because they are air tight. If someone accidentally punctures a hole in your bag? We sell bag repair tape to fix that. More on frequently asked questions here.
Another benefit of bagging your grain is that bagged grain doesn’t have the added costs of fans or property taxes like fixed grain bags do. And you save fuel by not having to run back and forth to the grain bin to dump. Richiger baggers bag at approximate rates of 39,000 bushels an hour, so you won’t be waiting on trucks to dump either. And the unloading process is simple and fast as well, check out a video we took on our own farm here.
More questions about the Farm Storage Facility Loan program? Click here for a Fact Sheet. And visit your local FSA office!
More questions about Bagging Grain? Click here for full details. And watch baggers run below!
Since many of our products require the use of Ag plastic, whether in grain bags or plastic film for wrapping hay, a natural thought has been about what customers do with the plastic once they are finished with it. Most Ag plastic cannot be used after initial use for the same purpose (ie. You can only wrap bales once with most plastic and grain bags are not reusable for bagging grain again with the same bag). Burning plastic is not a good idea as it has environmental effects. Similar to our products like Lemken tillage and Tubeline Nitro spreaders are concerned with the environment and help organic and traditional farmers alike, we strive to be educated on what the options are for farmers who have left over plastic from wrapping hay or grain bags. We carry a product called the BR48, shown below, which easily rolls our grain bags into rolls simple for recycling.
Where to recycle? First check with your local recycling plants and see what type of plastic and quantities they accept. There are other services across the United States that will pick up grain bags and plastic for free from your farm, if the quantity is approx. 40,000lbs or more and it is in some sort of bale (like the BR48 will provide). One place is called Delta Plastics, and they will go anywhere in the Midwest and Delta regions if the above specifications are met. When we talk about our grain bags, 40,000lbs is only about 60 bags. We have talked to farmers in the Midwest that get together in a season and store their used bags together, to get the 40,000lb requirement and then have a company come pick it up at a central location/farm. Other options we have heard of is reusing the plastic on your garden to cover for weeds, or to cover machinery.
Below are several resources for recycling Ag plastic in your region.
Minnesota & Wisconsin (they are hoping to expand to other regions)
As part of the Sustainability Series Increase Efficiency, Reduce Your Footprint we are going to discuss Richiger Grain Bagging Systems.
Grain bagging has become a popular technology in the United States recently, although places in South America have been bagging grain for many years, and Show Me Shortline has been in the grain bagging business for over 10 years. Farmers are finding out that bagging grain is a cost effective way to increase efficiency by bagging grain right in the field.
Grain bagging is also better at reducing fuel- there is no back and forth to the grain bin, you can unload right into the bagger in the field and create an infield grain terminal for yourself. Also, you will use less electricity if you bag grain because you will not have to use fans on your grain. The grain bags are recyclable when you are done with them as well.
We carry grain baggers that will load approximately 25,000 bushels an hour. We carry a roller mill bagger that is essentially two machines in one- the R950MX, which can process 88tons (approx. 3,150 bushels) per hour. The unloader that we carry will unload 12,000 bushels and hour, approximately 5 minutes to unload 1,000 bushels. With these time savings products you are saving money by reducing your time for tractors running and money you spend on hired help, as well as reducing your fuel costs.
By reducing your use of fans, electricity, fuel and ability to recycle the plastic-grain bagging can help reduce your footprint and increase your savings.
Increase your efficiency, reduce your footprint: a new series from Show Me Shortline
Less time and fuel= more money in your pocket, less carbon footprint for the environment.
We are starting a series on how using our machines can save you money by reducing the number of operators you need, reducing time spent in the field, reducing fuel costs, and thus reducing your carbon footprint and also increasing your overall income, efficiency and time to do other tasks or spend time with family. We have a wide variety of machines that are faster and more efficient than their competition. So check back often to see our continued series.
The first machine that can save you obvious time, money on fuel and labor costs thus reducing your carbon footprint is the McHale V660 baler. The V660 baler makes dense bales, reducing the number of truck loads to haul bales around. Since the McHale V660 baler has a chopper unit in it, the hay is partially already processed when it reaches your TMR mixer or direct livestock- which makes it easier to digest and reduces TMR mixer times significantly. This saves you fuel costs and cost of labor because with faster mixing times, your whole operation is running faster and more efficiently- reducing cost to you and to the environment.
The McHale V660 Baler also has a faster transfer speed time than other balers. 15 seconds, or 25% of your day might be spent waiting for a bale to transfer if you ran another baler. This saves you time and money and with all machines getting done 25% faster, you are reducing the fuel, money and energy it takes to create bales.
The V660 has other great features that are forward thinking including a drop floor. With the touch of a button and never getting out of the tractor cab, a blockage can be eliminated and you can go about your baling, reducing labor costs, time spent, and fuel going back and forth from the field getting tools and help-possibly parts too-to remove a blockage with another baler.
This week I wanted to talk to our employees, the people that keep our business moving, about what working in agriculture means to them. Every person we hire has some form of ag background, whether it’s a degree in animal science, being raised on a farm, growing up in an ag community or a love for the people of farming communities. We hope you enjoy a selection of quotes from us about why agriculture matters.
"Agriculture has been part of my life since I was born. My grandparents farmed, their parents farmed, and my dad farmed and sold farm equipment. I have pursued other careers including being a family and addiction counselor, a writer and working in retail. I came back, however, to the ag industry out of a sense of responsibility towards the hard work that farmers put into each and every thing I eat. I knew the one thing I wanted to do as a career was to help people, and nothing helps people more than putting food on the table and selling products that make farmers lives easier. I live on a farm, raise animals and grow an organic garden, so I am never far away from ag. Ag is important to me because food is our most basic of needs, and helping farmers fulfill their goals is always a reason to stay motivated.”
Janeka, Marketing Director, Blog Author
"I like working in ag because it’s a good environment, I’ve always worked on cars and machinery- I’ve raised horses. I like the variety of equipment we offer.”
Andy, Warehouse Manager
"When I lived in Montana my uncle ran a ranch with 800 cattle, I’ve raised cattle myself. I like working in ag because of the down-to-earth people that also work in ag. I like making connections in the ag business, and it seems like you are always just 1 person away from knowing everyone in ag- it’s like a big family.”
Chris, Product Specialist
This week our warehouse is hard at work putting together new McHale machines! One of the bale wrappers we are excited about is the 991 high speed. This wrapper provides 50% higher output for large producers or contractors who need to get their job done in a timely manner. We would like to share with you what other producers are saying about this machine, to allow you to discover if it might be right for your operation. So check out the reviews below and watch the video link at the bottom to see the McHale 991 High Speed running against another great McHale bale wrapper, the 991B series.
Contractor Ben Fraser from Co. Cavan in Ireland does on average 5000 bales per year. Having used McHale products for the past 6 years Ben decided to buy a McHale wrapper “because of the excellent performance of the McHale products I have used in the past and because of their brilliant back up service”. Ben commented that one of his favourite features on his McHale wrapper is “the twin wrapper dispenser which can easily keep up with a baler, whatever the crop conditions”. When it comes to McHale’s back up service Ben is very impressed with McHale’s service, both for the wrapper and his McHale F550.
Ben summed up, “This is a very fast, well-built wrapper that has so far been extremely reliable”.
Colin Price, England says: "I was running two McHale 991BER single dispenser round bale wrappers, which were fully electronic and could be operated with a remote control and a HS2000 twin satellite machine. After having the 991 High Speed on demo for 1 day, I had to get in touch with my dealer to ask him if I could buy it because of its speed of wrapping and ease to use. This machine is very practical, has high output and can do the same work of a twin satellite with fewer things to go wrong."
Diarmuid Geaney from County Cork, Ireland, purchased a 991 High Speed to speed up his wrapping in the yard.
“As I do all my wrapping in the yard, I used to use a 991 BER linkage bale wrapper. I then bought a 991 High Speed to speed the job up, with the two plastic dispensers the 991 High Speed is always waiting for the next bale even when wrapping with six layers.The cut and tie works well by catching the 2 tails at one point.”
Diarmuid was also very impressed by the 991 HIgh Speeds ease of use. ” The wrapper is very practical and easy to use. My old remote control did not work very well in bright sunlight or in tractors with tinted glass.The radio remote control on the 991 High Speed does not have any problems.”
Diarmuid finished by saying “When I changed to the 991 High Speed for yard wrapping my output doubled,I can now wrap the bales as quick as i can load them even with 6 layers of plastic."
Willie Talbot from County Kildare, Ireland purchased a 991 High Speed and is impressed by it’s speed and ease of use. “We find the 991 High Speed an excellent machine. It is fast and simple, this is what a contractor needs in a machine. We can get 75 bales an hour out it with ease, which allows the wrapper man leaving the field the same time as the baler.”
Willie added. “Changing the 2 rolls together at 60 bales saves time getting up and down changing plastic on a single dispenser. The wrapper can be used with the one roll of plastic but we work with the two rolls all the time unless we run low on plastic.”
For Tipperary contractor George Hayden from Crohane, Killenaule, Co, reliability, performance and low running cost are key features of his McHale bale silage system. George operates two McHale round balers and a wrapper from the McHale range, to provide a bale silage and hay baling contractor service in the south Tipperary region.
Due to wet weather, wrapping hay may be more important than ever. Here are some frequently asked questions we often get in regards to bale wrapping.
Why is silage better?
-baled silage is easier for cows to digest because the silage that comes from wrapped bales is slightly already digested per say because the lack of oxygen from the plastic wrap breaks down the lactic bacteria which turns the hay into usable energy.
-you can preserve your hay and keep nutrients inside until the day your livestock eats it
-consumption of hay will go up because your livestock will favor it against anything else, thus reducing your need for other cow feed and increasing the weight of your stock.
How will I save money?
Say you bale 500 bales a year. If you do not wrap your hay you can expect to lose 1/3 of that bale due to factors like spoilage and livestock sorting out the good parts of the bale and leaving the rest. If we know that alfalfa hay bales run about $200/ton and grass hay bales run about $75 a bale, if you take 1/3 of $75 for a grass hay bale, you have just lost $25 per bale if you do not wrap it. Thus, you take $25 x 500 (bales)= $12,500 loss because you did not wrap your hay. So with, say, $300 investment in plastic film, you can earn yourself a much better profit on your hay.
Here’s another example. For every 100 bales of dry hay forage, you need to make 133 bales (100bales / 75%= 133 bales) and if you put $300 worth of silage film on those 100 bales you will save 33 bales at approximately $40 each, 33x$40.00=1320.00 minimum value cost savings.
Each dollar invested in silage film in spring will save $4.00 or more in winter.
You can use this math as well to see how many years it would take in savings to earn you back what you paid for the hay wrapping machine.
What moisture do I need?
Moisture level is 40%-60% for grass, 40%-55% for legumes. This haylage will maintain its feed value for one year. If moisture level is 30%-40%, its not as good after 6 months, but perfect before, so feed first. If moisture level is more than 60%, feed as soon as possible within 6months. For a fast and effective way to test moisture levels, see the picture below on a fast microwave test that proves 100% accurate.
How many bales per hour can I wrap?
We cannot speak for all machines, but the machines we sell from Tubeline, McHale and Diamond single bale wrappers will wrap about a bale a minute, so between 50-60 bales per hour, while the Tubeline inline wrappers you can expect to bale 80-120 per hour.
How many layers of film should I use?
We recommend between 6-7 layers of plastic on hay, legumes cornstalks could need more. As far as single wrappers, in order to get 7 layers you will need to go 21 revolutions (you take the layers of plastic you want x 3 to get the revolutions needed)
What does it cost?
If you are wrapping single bales you can expect to spend $4-6 per bale on plastic wrap
If you are wrapping in line bales you can expect to spend around $3-4 per bale on plastic. The plastic can be obtained from your dealership or a local ag store.
What wrapper should I use?
We have a wrapper to fit your needs. We have in line and single bale wrappers, round and square bale wrappers, self-loading machines, 3point hitch or linkage machines, machines for smaller producers and for commercial, high output customers, and even baler/wrapper combination machines. Click the links below for more info and to watch wrappers in action.
Here are some frequently asked questions about our Plastar grain bags that we have received lately from customers who are interested in grain bagging or grain bagging for the first time.
What width and length grain bags do you have?
Our Plastar grain bags are 9 or 10 feet in width and range anywhere from 200 to 333 feet in length, depending on availability.
What thickness are the bags?
We offer plastar premium grain bags that are 9.3 mil in thickness . Our plastar grain bags have been tested by the state of Missouri.
Do you have trouble with pests?
No. We recommend not bagging grain where there is already a known pest problem. Placing ammonium nitrate down before bagging is a safeguard tool, never use sulfur. Unless there is a major grain spill or you have punctured a hole in your grain bag, pests will not be able to smell the grain from outside the grain bag.
What happens if I tear a hole in a bag?
We offer grain bag tape, as well as many dealerships, to patch a hole if one occurs, which is rare.
How many bushels will a bag hold?
9ft Plastar grain bags will hold approx..40 bushels per foot, 10ft plastar grain bags will hold approx. 50 bushels per foot. So for example, if you have a 10x250ft bag, you can estimate 250x50=12,500 bushels stored in one bag.
How much do bags cost?
Our Plastar grain bags cost roughly 0.7 cents a bushel.
Are the bags reusable?
The plastar grain bags are one time use.
Are the bags recyclable?
Yes. See our previous post on recycling options http://www.showmeshortlineblog.com/blog/recycling-ag-plastics
What moisture can I store my grain at in grain bags?
Ideal moisture is anywhere up to 18%, however, some higher moisture grain can be stored up to 25% moisture.
How long can I store my grain in grain bags?
Plastar grain bags are designed to store grain up to 24 months, but we have many customers who store grain for much longer than that.
What happens to my grain inside the grain bags?
Not much. Aerobic bacteria use up what free oxygen is available inside the grain bag, they expel carbon dioxide which increases CO2 and decreases the risk for deterioration and it also controls mold and insects. There is no decrease in the grade of your grain inside the grain bag and it will remain like it was when you put it in.