As we are in the midst of grain bagging season, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the proper way to prepare your site for grain bagging. Whether you are bagging grain for the first time this year or just need a refresher on techniques we have learned over the years to get the best results from your grain bags. So, let’s go!
1.Choose a Level Place: Pick the most level site you can find. If this isn’t possible for your farm, then keep in mind that you need to always bag down the hill or slope, never up hill.
2. Pick a spot away from forest: Always choose a place furthest away from wooded areas, or places you know there is always a pest problem. This is just a safeguard so you are not right up in animals roaming ground. Please note though, unless you spill grain or something, once the grain is bagged animals will not be able to smell it through the bag because it is air tight. To learn more about what happens inside a grain bag, check out this blog.
3. Knock down stubble: Whether it’s bean stubble or corn stalks, use whatever method you wish (disk, etc.) to knock that down in the spots you plan to place your bags. This will ensure there are no hard parts sticking up that could potentially poke your grain bag when its full of grain.
4. Apply ammonium nitrate (NEVER Sulfur): This is a technique that we have used on our farm for over 10 years and it seems to work great as just another level of deterrent for pests. Please never use Sulfur though, because sulfur will interact with the plastic and cause deterioration of your grain bag.
5. Set your bagger up, get your first bag on, and you are ready to bag! We have experienced staff on hand to assist customers with first time Richiger grain bagging. We see the most issues when people have never bagged before, and don’t properly prepare their site and get that first bag on correctly, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. You can call or reach out to us on social media.
You know where your food comes from. If you grew up on a farm you got the experience of seeing your food grown in the field, raised in your pastures, and you see the time and effort it takes to feed the world. You never take food for granted, because you know when you search through the grocery store aisles that farmers worked very hard to get that food there. Respect.
You know the value of hard work. Whether it was bucking hay in the summers, canning food, feeding animals and cleaning stalls, running the combine, planting, tillage, and the list could go on and on- because work on the farm doesn’t stop- it doesn’t stop for weather, or holidays, or darkness, so you know how to work hard!
You get quiet mornings and beautiful sunsets. Some of the most beautiful skies can be found on the farm (in my opinion). You know how to look up and see a million stars spread across the sky where no street lights or skyscrapers get in the way of the show.
You know how to solve problems. Whether it’s the many uses for baling twine, natural bug repellent recipes, or how to tie off umbilical cords of baby goats that were just born- you know how to solve any problem that might arise. Obviously with google you can pretty much solve any problem you have (and get many different opinions!) but since you can’t always carry your phone (have you ever dropped your phone in cow manure? Even after its clean you swear you can smell that smell forever) you have an arsenal of lessons on how to solve issues on the farm. And even if you move away from the farm, you have the knowledge that any problem can be solved with a little elbow grease and creativity.
You could survive the apocalypse. You’ve got canned food, buckets for days, you know how to grow your own food, use seed bags for strainers, create makeshift shovels and hoes from re purposed metal, and use your cows manure to fertilize your growing food.
Sometimes I hear people say that grain bagging is just “temporary storage” as if the time frame differs from storing grain in a bin. And while that’s true the bag is temporary and a bin is a fixed structure to property, the use of both assets is temporary.
While the structure of a grain bin is permanent, the grain you store is not permanent, at some point you are going to sell the grain which makes it also temporary storage. Average storage time to store grain in a grain bin is 6-12months, the same time frame that you can store in a bag.
We talked to one local lender about how he values grain bins. He said that the value of a grain bin is only valued by the person putting it on their property (a fixed asset), the actual value of the grain bin drops significantly whereas with a grain bagger (a non-fixed asset), the used market is very high and you can expect to get 70% of the new value out of your grain bagger. A grain bin does not automatically raise the property value of your farm, the only real value is to you the farmer. But as a percentage of real asset value, a grain bagger is worth more than a grain bin. Plus, he mentioned, the bagger is not a fixed asset item, it is mobile and can move around your farm to store grain where you need it.
Also, as far as grain quality, properly managed grain baggers can keep your grain quality a lot longer than a grain bin because a grain bagger will not experience the shrinkage that the grain in a grain bin does.
The lender also mentioned that “I don’t put a lot of monetary value to the grain bin, no question the grain bin is an asset to farmers on their own property, but for retaining value, you cannot get your value money back out” where you can with a grain bagger.
Grain baggers can also decrease your fuel bill, because you don’t have to drive back and forth to your fixed grain bin structure, you can bag right in the field. Another great tool that grain bagging offers you is that you do not have to pay property taxes on bags, where you have to pay property taxes on a grain bin. Grain bags also do not need fans, so you can save on your electric bills.
In no way are we saying that grain bins are not valuable, they are. They bring value to the farmer, which isn’t something you can determine in hard and fast numbers. But as farming moves into the future, flexible grain storage is going to continue to be a more commonplace form of storage, because after all: all storage is temporary.
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)