Vegetation ManagementAgriculture

How Grain Bagging Works

Grain bagging is a proven storage method. The air-tight bag allows grain to be stored for an extended period of time in a dry, controlled environment. Once the bags have been sealed, the oxygen level is reduced, and the concentration of carbon dioxide is increased. This environment virtually eliminates fungal diseases and insects without the use of chemicals. The air-tight environment also slows down the natural metabolic process that leads to increased temperatures in the grain, extending the storage life of your product. Our grain storage systems give you all the capacity you will ever need, whether storing 20,000 or 1,000,000 or more bushels of corn, wheat, soybeans, rice or other grains. This nearly unlimited flexibility can add efficiency to your overall operation, as well as maximize your profits.

What Is the Ideal Site for Keeping Grain Bags?

Choose a site alongside a road or a firm well-drained area to allow trucks, loading and unloading equipment access to the grain bags. Preparing the site ahead of time will save time and money down the road. The site should be on an elevated, slightly sloped and firm section of land with no chance of flooding. Check the site for any areas that do not drain naturally, and dig drainage channels to shed the water away from the grain bag storage site. Also, when selecting and preparing the site, keep in mind that machine traction is a very important process during the loading of the grain bags. Poor wheel traction will make it difficult to maintain the proper filling of the grain bag during the loading process.

NOTE: Do NOT store grain bags under trees. Branches from the trees can fall onto the top of grain bags where the most stretch is and cause stress or puncture the bag. Impact at the highest stress point of the grain bag could result in the grain bag splitting along its entire length.

How Do I Prepare a Site for Grain Bags?

Lightly scrape the ground of the entire storage site removing weeds, sticks, stones and stubble that could penetrate the grain bag. When removing debris from the site, be careful not to loosen the ground. It’s recommended that the grain bag storage site remain as firm as possible and debris-free to minimize grain bag damage. Chemical can be sprayed on the site to control weeds and grasses, reducing nesting habitat for rodents.

What Is the Best Way to Place Grain Bags?

It is recommended that the grain bags be positioned north – south on the storage site. This will allow the grain bags to be exposed to the sun evenly. If the grain bags are positioned east – west, the south side of the grain bags will be exposed to the sun the entire day and may lead to over stretching and damage to the grain bags. Start the grain bag on the highest elevation of the storage site. This will aid in the loading of the grain bag and also assist in preventing any moisture from entering the bag both at the starting point and at the finishing end. It is NOT recommended to position the bag across the slope. Positioning the bag across the slope could cause water build-up along the edge of the bag. This places added stress on one side of the grain bag and may cause the bag to overstretch. It also prevents water from shedding away from and / or running along the length of the grain bag.

When storing grain bags in the field, it is recommended that the bags be positioned in a line. This will help prevent animals, rodents and other pests from using the bags as a shelter from the weather and from natural predators.

NOTE: Maintaining adequate space between the grain bags for the unloading equipment and trucks to travel between the bags is recommended.

How Much Space Is Needed Between Grain Bags?

When storing grain bags side by side, space the grain bags a minimum of 18 ft. apart. This will allow adequate space for the unloading equipment and trucks to travel between the bags during the unloading process.

NOTE: Unrestricted travel between all grain bags is recommended.

Can I Store Grain Bags in Depots?

When storing grain bags in depots, position the bags in pairs approximately 5 ft. (1.5 m) apart and a minimum of 18 ft. (5.5 m) between pairs. 5 feet (1.5 m) is adequate space for the unloader to operate without damaging the adjacent grain bag. Maintaining an 18 foot (5.5 m) spacing between pairs will allow the transport vehicle adequate space to travel. Load the pair of grain bags opposite from each other. When unloading the grain bags, this will allow the unloading equipment to finish unloading one bag and move directly over and start the unloading of the second bag.

NOTE: If the grain bags need to be positioned end to end with another pair, leave approximately 20-26 ft. (6.1-7.9 m) of space between the two pairs of bags. This should be adequate space for the transport vehicle and unloader to travel between the pairs of bags.

How Do I Start a Grain Bag?

NOTE: When loading the grain bags, move the loading equipment and position it facing up the slope. Loading the grain bags up the slope will aid the operator in braking the machine, and will leave the sealed end of the bag unexposed to downhill moisture that could enter the grain bag and damage product inside the bag.

Position the loading equipment at the lowest elevation of the storage site and facing up the slope. Pull approximately 10-13 ft. (3.1-3.9 m) of the grain bag off the roller, seal and flatten the end, then fold the end underneath. As the grain bag is being filled, the weight of the product will provide downward pressure on the seal and create an additional seal to help prevent moisture from entering the grain bag. Install a guideline at the start of the bag, stretching it tight alongside one of the front tires of the tractor. Position the guideline as straight as possible along the loading path. The guideline will help the operator maintain the tractor and bag loader position and keep the bag straight during the loading process. It is important to keep the bag straight while loading

What Is the Proper Way to Fill a Grain Bag?

NOTE: The bag should be full. Make sure there is no loose plastic present. Do NOT over-stretch or exceed the grain bag manufacturer’s specifications.

Adjust the grain bag so the vertical guidelines printed on the bags are located at the side of the bag loader / tractor where they can be monitored throughout the bagging process. Adjust the brake pressure on the bag loader in small increments. To increase the bag stretch, increase the brake pressure of the bag loader. To decrease the bag stretch, decrease the brake pressure of the bag loader.

NOTE: The grain bag expansion / stretching will vary depending on type of grain and its weight, cleanliness and moisture content. Time of day will also affect the expansion / stretching of the grain bag. Warmer temperatures increase the bag’s expanding / stretching, which requires less brake pressure on the bag loader. Cooler temperatures decrease the bag’s expanding / stretching, which requires more brake pressure on the bag loader. Proper filling of the grain bag ensures that the maximum amount of oxygen is removed from the bag. Less oxygen in the bag decreases the chance of spoilage.

How Do I Seal a Grain Bag?

NOTE: When the grain bag is full, seal the bag as soon as possible to eliminate the chance of excess moisture entering the bag and damaging the grain.

Starting A New Grain Bag: Remove approximately 10-13 ft. (3.1-3.9 m) of the grain bag from the loader. Align the bag ends and fold the two outer edges of the bag. Start the fold approximately 2 ft. (0.6 m) up on the bag, and then fold it towards the center of the bag. Place a board underneath the folded end of the bag (the board should be long enough to reach the entire width of the bag), then place a second board on top of the bag. With the folded end of the grain bag positioned between the two boards, fasten the boards together. Flatten the end of the bag, roll the sealed end downward a minimum of three times, and fold it underneath the grain bag as far as possible. As the grain bag is being filled, the weight of the grain will provide downward pressure on the seal and help create an additional seal to help prevent moisture from entering the grain bag.

Sealing A Loaded Grain Bag: Leave approximately 10-13 ft. (3.1-3.9 m) of the grain bag empty for sealing. The entire 10-13 ft. (3.1-3.9 m) of unused bag is not needed for sealing the bag but will aid in the unloading process. Seal the grain bag with the same procedure used when starting a new grain bag. Once the loaded grain bag has been sealed, roll the bag underneath the grain as far as possible to get some grain weight on the boards. This will also help prevent rodents and birds from entering in through any loose or unsealed portion of the finished bag end. Also inspect the grain bag for any loose creases and tape them down.

What Is the Best Way to Keep Grain Bags Protected?

When storing grain bags in a stubble field, it is recommended that a fire break be constructed to protect the bags from potential fire hazards. Install a wire fence around the entire storage site. Maintain approximately 7-10 ft. (2.1-3.1 m) between the bags and the wire fence. This will help prevent animals / livestock grazing in the area from damaging the grain bags. Rodents can cause the most damage to the grain bags, so keep the site free of weeds, grass and debris. Use baits when necessary. Thoroughly inspect the grain bags weekly for punctures. Seal all punctures as soon as possible. It is important to repair damaged areas quickly to help prevent moisture from entering the grain bag. Inspect the grain bags immediately after every storm for damage. Small damaged areas can be repaired with the bag manufacturer’s specified tape. If the damage is too great to be repaired with the specified tape, it’s recommended that the bag be emptied and the grain loaded into a new bag.

What Is the Proper Way to Open a Grain Bag?

Grain bags are filled under pressure. Extreme care should be taken when opening the bag at the beginning of the extraction process. It is very important that a horizontal cut be made first. This will help prevent the bag from opening quickly along the entire length of the bag. After making the horizontal cut, make a vertical cut starting at the fold and ending just before the horizontal cut. Now make two horizontal cuts along the bottom of the bag from the vertical cut towards the outer edge of the bag. Open the flaps and position unloader into the bag.

How Do I Extract Grain From the Bag?

Position the Grain Bag Unloader and tractor at the end of the grain bag. During the extraction process, the operator of the tractor is required to remain in the operator’s position at all times to start and stop the PTO shaft and to keep the tractor / unloader centered on the grain bag. Position a person alongside the machine to monitor grain intake and to pause the unloader when the grain transport vehicle is full. The operator of the grain transport vehicle is required to remain in the operator’s position at all times during the extraction process to move the grain transport vehicle and monitor when the vehicle is full.

Extracting Grain: Open the grain bag and place the unloader’s cross augers into the grain bag. Slide the bag underneath the cross augers and lower the bag unloader. Wrap the grain bag over the top and completely around the roller to secure the bag on the roller hooks. Start roller rotation and begin pulling the unloader and tractor into the bag. Roll up enough of the grain bag to make the bag taut while keeping the cross augers buried in the grain. Guide the bag as it advances onto the roller, making sure the bag is straight and even on the roller. Move the grain transport vehicle or cart into position. Engage the tractor PTO shaft at a slow speed to ensure grain will start flowing up the auger. Gradually increase the PTO speed until it reaches 540 RPM. Once extraction has begun and the GBU is deeper into the bag, be sure the bag cutting knife is in-line with the starting cut and is cutting the bag properly. Increase or decrease the roller speed, while adjusting the roller height to avoid grain build-up by the roller. The grain level should remain just below roller height. Maintain an adequate distance from the tires on the unloader and the mound at the bottom of the grain bag. Keep the tractor and unloader operating in a straight line and centered on the grain bag. Adjust the tractor / unloader as needed to maintain the operating path until the desired amount of grain is extracted from the bag. Grain can be extracted until the cross augers make contact with the end of the grain bag. Clean up any remaining grain and remove the grain bag from the unloader.

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