I get a lot of calls from farmers asking, “what do I do with my used grain bags?” or “can I recycle this silage plastic?”
I have always thought if we are going to be a company that sells grain baggers and baler wrappers that use large amounts of plastic, then it’s our responsibility to find a way for farmers to dispose of it in a way that doesn’t hurt the environment. I had been talking to Delta Plastics for several years and they kept talking about pilot programs that they were doing in Wisconsin, one of the places we sell a lot of grain bags. After this trial period, I noticed that they had created a sister company called Revolution Plastics, and that they had just opened the area up further into our territory into Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. It’s called Revolution Plastics and here’s how it works:
Farmers can go online and fill out a form that simply includes their contact information, how many cows/goats they feed (if any) and what type of ag or silage plastic they use (ie. Plastic wrap on hay, grain bags). Once they submit that, they will be contacted by Revolution and make sure that they are a right fit for the program. The only reason someone might not be a good fit is if they aren’t going to acquire at least 2,000 lbs of plastic per year. Our grain bags are approximately 400lbs of plastic per bag, so essentially that would just be 5 grain bags per year. Another great thing is that farmers in a close area can share the bin and all dispose of their ag plastic to make up the 2,000 lb limit.
After determining that they are right for the program, they set up a time to bring the free of charge bin to the farm. After that they stay in contact with the farmer if they require multiple pick ups per year to dispose of their plastic. And that’s basically it! It’s pretty straight forward and a great way to recycle ag and silage plastic. Some other frequently asked questions:
What are all the types of Ag Plastic they accept? “We accept used irrigation tape and tubing and cover, fumigation, greenhouse and hoophouse films.” “We accept used bale wrap, ag/grain bags, most bunker covers and oxygen barrier film.” “We do not accept bunker cover with nylon scrim, twine, net wrap or other mixed plastics.” (https://www.revolutionplastics.com/index.php#about )
What do they do with the recycled ag plastic? They make irrigation polytubing and also trash bags. Check out this video about their sister company Delta Plastics to see the full range of what they do.
For another blog that discusses ag plastic recycling check out Recycling and Ag Plastics, it also gives some other options for people in other regions.
While we can’t control the weather or the grain prices, one thing we can control is when to sell our grain. Previously if you ran out of storage after your grain bins were full, you could plan to hold it at a grain terminal.
Ever wonder why they call it “terminal?” it’s because that’s where your control over your grain stops. But without spending the money to build another grain bin and pay for property taxes and fan costs, what other options do you have? Grain bagging. You have grain bagging.
Bagging your grain can allow you to bag it, understand that the grain will remain the same inside the bag due to its oxygen free environment, and then sell when prices are better. This gives you leverage without the cost of fans or property taxes associated with grain bins. And bags cost only around 0.7 cents a bushel, and while they are one-time use bags, they are recyclable by recycling companies and also by you, around your farm for say the garden or covering machinery.
Bagging some of your grain can save you money too, since you can bag right in the field and not have to drive back and forth to a grain bin. This way, your combines stay running and less fuel is used which equals more money in your pocket.
Our grain bags can hold approximately 16, 500 bushels of grain in just one 10x333ft grain bag, and we have individual farmers and coops alike that use our baggers. We have bagged grain on our own farm for over 10 years as well. Another great thing about bagging grain is if you don’t need a bagger anymore, there is a great resell market out there, whereas its harder to sell a fixed grain bin. Want tips on grain bagging for the first time? Check out our blog here.
We are going to be running some great contests during harvest season for customers who use our products, so stay tuned to our Facebook page and Snapchat to learn how you can win some great giveaways!
We’ve had a great time connecting with customers over the past few months!
I love nothing more than getting great feedback from customers. The past few months have been a delight getting in better social media contact with our users from around the country, and beyond. I truly believe that while social media does have its downfalls (ie. Cyber-bullying), it has let the transparency grow for companies like ours who can answer questions, send quotes, share videos and pictures of real life moments using our products for our customers in real time and be more accessible to our users.
Some great moments that recently occurred for me on social media include receiving a great video from a customer in Illinois running his McHale 998 square bale wrapper. This video gave others a real-life example of a user running this bale wrapper.
Another great moment isn’t a customer of ours but a customer in Austria who also uses a machine we sell, the McHale R5 grabber. He posted this picture on our Facebook under a video of the machine. This great shot shows the sun shining over his tractor with an R5 grab attached, and showing the feature where you can keep one side of the grabber still, and move with the other side to get into tight places to pick up bales.
There are also farmers who will comment with questions about their product, how much a product costs or why they disagree with our new technology we’ve introduced. I love this too, because it gives us a chance to discuss our views or method behind why we chose a certain product, what tips we’ve used during grain bagging or give them a direct line phone number to their closest salesperson in their state.
And yes, we’ve received a few negative comments. And that’s ok! But you know what? Mostly farmers are great people and just want to know they are getting a good product and they can get parts, help, and quick service when needed.
So, let’s keep it up friend’s! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, LinkedIn or our Website!
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 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.