The idea of bagging your crop is certainly not a new concept — livestock producers having been successfully bagging forages for years.

But with the shift from cotton to corn exceeding 50 percent in some areas, row crop producers, particularly cotton growers in areas where grain bins are few and far between, are taking a closer look at grain bagging as a viable option for grain storage at harvest.

At a recent Lake City, Ark., field day, farmers as well as grain merchants from around the region watched as factory representatives from Akron, Mainero and IpesaSilo — Argentine agri-logistics companies — demonstrated their grain bagging system, a practice that is widespread in nearly every grain producing region of the globe except the United States.

“Last year we bagged more than 35 per cent of our total crop production in Argentina,” said Marcos Firmica of Mainero, the company whose grain bagger is a key component of the grain bagging system.

“We have a big logistics problem in Argentina,” Firmica added. “At harvest we can't wait on trucks to come and get our grain because we have a limited window of opportunity and sometimes our infrastructure makes it difficult for trucks to arrive on time.”

Firmica, who also farms 4,500 acres in Argentina himself, says farmers in his country face similar challenges to U.S. producers. “More than 60 per cent of agricultural products (in Argentina) are grown on rented lands,” he said.

“Landowners don't want to make long-term investments in things like grain bins, so the grain bagging system is a good fit for us.”

Firmica says on his farm he has bagged corn at harvest with moisture content as high as 18-20 per cent and stored it until spring with no damage to the crop or reduction in grain quality. “We struck the bags (de-bagged) in the spring and then dried it in an elevator facility,” says Firmica, “and this way we were able to save money.”

But, said Firmica, some growers in Argentina use the grain bagging system as a long-term storage solution.

“Some farmers will combine their grain at much lower moisture content and store it in the bags, sometimes as long as a year and a half,” he said. “They assume some loss by combining dry grain,” he adds, “but that is offset by cost savings on storage.”

Grain bagging may be similar to forage bagging insofar as a filled bag, but that's where the similarity ends according to Alberto Mindiondo of IpesaSilo — the company that manufactures the special bag required for grain bagging.

“Bagging grains as opposed to bagging forages required a change in the physical composition of the bag,” said Mindiondo, “a different chemistry.”

For additional information contact Bill Harrell at 102 Northview, P.O. Box 164, Monette, Ark. 72447. He can also be contacted by phone at 1-870-926-6238. The Web site is www.deltagrainbag.com.