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July 2014

As U.S. farmers turn in record grain crops this autumn, many will have a powerful new tool – giant sausage-shaped storage bags – to help them avoid the lowest prices in years and gain more control over trade with giants such as Cargill Inc.

Demand has surged this summer for the white polyethylene bags the length of a football field and the equipment required to fill them, according to manufacturers and wholesalers.

They allow farmers to store millions of bushels of corn and soybeans at a fraction the cost of conventional silos and far more efficiently than leaving grain in the open air.

The bags, which are about 300-foot (91-m) long and 10 feet in diameter, are common on the Argentine Pampas but until recently a rare sight in the U.S. Midwest, where the expansion of big elevators and 50-foot high silos has generally kept pace with ever-expanding crops…

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