In full harvest, quarantine affects the provision of a key input

Considered as an essential task within decree 297, which exempts social, preventive and compulsory isolation activities, the soybean and corn harvest is progressing in the Pampean region at the rate imposed by quarantine

Almost without personal contact and maintaining sanitary distances, the personnel who operate the combine, the tractor with the hopper and the truck comply with their sanitary protocols. The objective is to take the production of both grains to the commercialization centers: industries and ports.

However, and beyond being considered a priority, the harvesting task is limited by the lack of an essential input: the bag silo.

In a scenario where the transport of grains from the fields to the stores, and also to ports, has been reduced, the need for the producer to store harvest in the establishment itself has been complicated.

A “full”

It is that the demand for the silo bag had already started up in the beginning of the year. The decision of the agricultural companies not to place their production on the market, due to some financial inconveniences exhibited by marketing companies, had generated a first peak in demand.

Then, with the isolation and the arrival of the harvest, the orders multiplied. With a national market that is estimated to absorb 450 thousand bags, the grain bagging system in the field will concentrate some 90 million tons of grain.

A bag silo, nine feet in diameter (2.74 meters) by 70 meters long, can hold an average of 200 tons.

Delayed logistics

“We are with the adequate stock but with some delays in logistics. What in previous campaigns was a delivery period between seven to 15 days for the bag to be in the field, now it has multiplied by two,” said Leonardo Torreta, commercial manager of Ipesa, the company that concentrates 70 percent of the sales of bag silos in the domestic market.

In the Argentine market, the list of suppliers includes Ipesa (Tierra del Fuego), Plaster (San Luis), ACA (General Pico), Graner (San Luis), and Thyssen (San Luis), among others.

Ipesa, which also exports 30 percent of its production, has its industrial plant in Tierra del Fuego. According to Torreta, the period of greatest production is between June and August, although now due to the growth in demand they are also experiencing strong activity.

“Demand is exponential and has exceeded expectations,” they acknowledge from the leading company in the national market for bag silos.

Increase

“It went from being a savings bank back in January and February to becoming a key element due to the difficulties in logistics to bring grains to stores and ports,” said Víctor Accastello, director of supplies for the Asociación de Cooperativas Argentina (ACA ).

The company has a plant to make bag silos in General Pico (La Pampa). “This year we had planned to produce 10 percent more; today we get bags, but with delivery in 30 or 40 days,” said the executive.

National technology

Introduced more than 25 years ago by Inta technicians from Germany, where it was used to store wet grain as livestock feed, the bag silo technology was adapted in the country to collect dry grains.

Along with the know-how, the manufacturing of agricultural machinery for bagging and extraction of grain was developed.

Today the one hundred percent “Argentine industry” kit, made up of the bag silo, the baggers and grain extractors – many of them built in Córdoba – are exported to the United States, Canada and Australia. From the Inta, they ensure that the silo bag of national manufacture is marketed to more than 40 countries.