ALLAN, Sask. – This year, white grain bags are a common sight on freshly combined Saskatchewan fields.
The bags have commonly been used for silage but can also be used to store grain. Harvest 2013 has taken up storage like never before.
Jeff Hoiness has farmed near Allan, Sask. for more than 20 years and says harvest 2013 is one for the records.
“Cereal crops are the highest yields we’ve had, canola is as good as we’ve had,” said Hoiness.
Purchasing costly steel bins to store excess grain is only economical if they’re used annually.
Not expecting record crops back-to-back, grain bags are a cheap alternative for farmers during this surplus year, according to Michael Lynch with Greenline Enterprises.
“You’ve got ten bins and you need seven or eight at the last minute, you can put it in bags right in the field,” explains Lynch.
Greenline Enterprises has been selling bags since the 1980’s and this is also a record year for the company.
It has sold more than 500 bags this fall which is double compared to a normal harvest.
“We try to get producers to order bags a month prior to harvest and this year was the same thing, then they reordered and reordered and reordered and now we don’t have any bags left,” said Lynch.
According to the weekly crop report, harvest in the west-central region, where Allan is located, is 86 per cent complete with yields average to above average.
Grain bins are full and desperate times call for desperate measures, meaning some farmers are being forced to dump their valuable grain on the ground, where it’s subject to moisture and wildlife.
Hoiness has purchased more than 25 bags, each with a capacity of 10,000 to 35,000 bushels.
“As producers, we produce and there’s good satisfaction in producing and having more grain than we’ve ever had to market,” said Hoiness.
Storing grain in a bag costs $0.06 to $0.07 per bushel while storing it in a bin costs $2.50 to $3 per bushel.