Wes Woods, Saskatchewan marketing rep for SeCan, called with a warning about unloading those large grain storage bags with a grain vac. He knows of two farmers on the Prairies who were “shrink wrapped” when they were working inside the bag with the nozzle end of the grain vac. The empty bag closed around the hose at the open end and the vac quickly sucked all the air out of the cavity. Quick thinking in both cases saved the men from suffocation. One man gnawed a breathing hole in the bag with his teeth. That’s pretty heavy plastic, so it took a lot of chewing. The other guy managed to extract a jackknife from his pocket and slice a small breathing hole.
Grain vacs are not the recommended extraction tool. The baggers have their own extractor. They cost as much as a grain vac, so if you’ve already got the vac, one can understand the temptation to use your vac for the job. But for goodness sake, be careful. “New vacs are much more powerful than old ones on the market,” Woods notes.
He also warns growers who have stored out-of-condition grain in the bags to check them regularly for spoilage. Just like a silage bale in plastic, wet grain will ferment in the oxygen-free environment.
“Are baggers cost efficient in the long run?” Woods asks. “With bags full of varying-quality product — tough, hot — this winter, we are all about to learn a lot more about the systems.”