HECTOR, Minn. – Farmers struggling with a slow harvest due to logistical concerns may find an answer in grain bagging.
Dave Nelson, Loftness senior vice president of sales, reminds farmers that grain baggers are still available for the 2019 harvest.
A Loftness grain bagger costs about $33,000-$40,000, with extra for bags and operations (about 25 cents per bushel depending on economies of scale). The Loftness GL System 10 Grain Bag Loader can load a 10-foot by 300-foot grain bag in just over 30 minutes and holds about 13,000 bushels of corn. Another item farmers need to prepare for is finding a location where the used bags can be recycled.
For the producer who is starting and stopping their combining to match up with the grain dryer, or who doesn’t have a grain dryer, corn bagging is an alternative. Congestion at the elevator is another reason farmers turn to grain bagging.
“The best way to realize the advantages is bagging grain right in the field off the combine, and then come back and haul it when you have time,” Nelson said. “You keep your combine going, and you’re not waiting for trucks.”
Generally, bagging grain that is about 20 percent moisture works best – any wetter and it won’t flow well out of the bag and into an auger. Farmers can leave the filled bags in their fields for a couple of weeks or as late as March.
When the corn is unloaded and dried, and it might be worth more at the elevator. The farmer hasn’t paid for storage costs at the elevator either.
“We have stock available here,” Nelson said, referring to the Hector manufacturing location and dealerships in Minnesota. “Unfortunately, grain bagging hasn’t been embraced in a huge way in Minnesota, but certainly the Dakotas and Nebraska and Iowa have.
“But, if somebody’s in a bind,” he continued, “we certainly have dealers on our website and we have equipment available.”
The learning curve for the average farming crew is pretty quick, he said. Publications and instructional videos are available at loftness.com. Usually, the biggest challenge is learning how to put the bag on the bag loader in an efficient amount of time.
Emptying the bag – Nelson says it takes about 7 minutes for an experienced operator to load grain into a semi-trailer from the bag.
“It’s certainly as fast as taking it out of a bin, and in some respects much easier,” he said. “You don’t have to go in and shovel the grain out. You don’t have a bin sweep to put in there. I don’t know that it’s a whole lot of extra work.”