By adding plastic grain storage bags to his on-farm storage space, Ben McClure is expanding his ability to add another 55-65¢/bu. to his corn sales. And his brother Joel is storing 160,000 bu. in bags lying beside center-pivot circles, saving him countless hours of trucking grain 10 or more miles to town and not waiting on elevators to open at their convenience.

The McClures farm separately out of Hugoton, KS, in the far southwest corner of the state where irrigation is the only way to grow corn successfully. There are many nearby feedyards and a Seaboard swine operation that provide good markets for their corn. By storing grain in 250-ft.-long, 9-ft.-diameter bags that hold from 10,000 to 12,000 bu. each, both growers are enhancing their production and marketing efficiency.

Joel bought a Loftness Grain Bag storage system in 2009. It was after he tired of wringing his hands while waiting for trucks to haul corn to the local the elevator while his combine set idle.

“I bagged about 80,000 bu. in 2009 and have about 160,000 bu. this year,” says Joel. “I have about 140,000 bu. of corn and 20,000 bu. of sorghum in bags that lie beside the field where it was cut.

“With this system, I don’t have to haul it out of the field at harvest and can deliver it when I can receive about a 40¢/bu. better price.”

Ben McClure has a different situation. He used the bagging system for the first time in 2010 to complement new bins with 200,000 bu. in storage space. “I belong to a separate partnership, which installed the metal bins in 2009,” says Ben.“We put up the bins to deliver to nearby feedmills without going through a middleman (local elevator). We can obtain up to a 65¢/bu. better price for corn, depending on when we take it in.

“The bags are an extension of the bin storage capabilities. We can unload trucks directly to the bagging system. When we are ready to deliver grain in the late winter or early spring, it is the same moisture count as when we put it in at harvest (all at 15½% or under). We’re using several of the bags this year (2010) and will likely expand that as we become more familiar with them.”

The marketing advantages include not having to sell at harvest, when the local corn basis is normally at 25-30¢ under at the elevator. “In mid-February it’s closer to 5¢ over,” says Ben. “In the spring it’s 10-15¢ over. We can make sales for later delivery and take advantage of the better basis.”