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Bag Your Bulk Fertilizer
Bagging your own bulk fertilizer may offer an economical new option to using self-unloading hoppers, while reducing storage and handling problems at the same time. This is the view of John Read, retired Canadian fertilizer dealer, who has developed a 500-pound plastic bag and a special clamp to lift the bags with a front-end loader or forklift.
Read says the system allows fertilizer to be stored safely outside and permits farmers with flat bed trucks to pick up their own supply at fertilizer plants.
"If a farmer wants to, he can pick up his fertilizer at the plant, take it home and spot the bags on headlands where hopper or drill fill-tips will be made at planting time.
"I've stored potash, which will harden as quickly as any element in fertilizer, outside for a year without any lumpiness developing. The bags are black poly so the sun has no effect on their contents. However, they're open at both ends, with wire ties being used to close them, so they have to be laid flat on the ground.
"With drills, spreaders or hoppers that take 500 pounds or more to fill, all you have to do is attach the clamp by a chain or cable to a front end loader, lift and position the bag and then undo the bottom wire tie. For smaller fertilizer hoppers, I've developed a plastic cradle to hold the bags at a convenient angle so part of the fertilizer can be poured out and the remainder held in the retied bag," Read says.
Besides eliminating the manual handling of fertilizer without the capital expense of purchasing self-unloading hoppers, Read believes the difference in cost between bulk and bagged fertilizer should quickly pay for the plastic bags, clamp and cradle.
"The plastic bags cost $2.50 each, or $10 a ton. The spread between bulk and bagged fertilizer of one tobacco analysis I priced (on February 21) was $18 per ton," he said.
With careful use and storage, Read believes the plastic bags should be durable enough to last for up to five consecutive seasons. He said he had used lighter mil plastic bags in a warehousing situation for as many as 10 to 15 times. For details on the bag-lifting clamp Read developed, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Read, Apt. 612, So. Moorgate Crescent, Kitchener, Ont. N2M2G1 (ph 519 579-4849).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #5