Hail storm damages feed storage bags
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 05/30/2012 1:27 PM
LAKE CITY, Minn. — Farmers in the path of recent hail storms are encouraged to check their bagged feed for damages.
The hail could leave depressions in bags, which will lead to spoiling, said Dan Martens, Extension educator in Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties. It could also leave small holes in the bag or worse, shred it.
Wabasha County dairyman Fred Keller realized there were holes in his corn silage bag early in the afternoon of May 3, following a hail storm that began around 8:40 the evening before and lasted for about 20 minutes. The storm brought hail up to golf ball-sized in diameter across a swath of Wabasha County.
Hail fell in a swath across the northern part of the county, stretching from Chester to Pepin townships. The hail struck northern Chester, southern Mount Pleasant and northern Gillford, central Lake and northern Pepin townships. The storm itself lasted for two hours and caused flash flooding because culverts were plugged by hail, said Ryan Castle, Wabasha County Farm Service Agency county executive director. Hail mixed with debris continued to melt last week.
As soon as Keller realized his bag was damaged, he called his nutritionist for advice. The nutritionist had just received an email about a product, Elastomeric, that was safe to use to seal bags and could be found at Menards.
The Kellers located eight buckets of the stuff at Rochester's north store and 28 at the south store and proceeded to buy the better share of Menards' inventory at $60 per five-gallon bucket.
Keller also got on the phone and started calling his neighbors, advising them to check their stored feed and telling them of the product. The neighbors formed a crew and went from farm-to-farm sealing bags in hopes of saving the feed.
It was nice to see the farmers helping one another out, said Lois Klein, whose house, farm and fields were damaged by hail.
On May 7, Keller was out checking his bags, inspecting to see if the tape he'd applied was holding and adding more sealant to the areas that looked like they needed more.
If bags are so ripped they can't be sealed, Martens encourages rebagging it quickly and packing it to get all the air out to avoid spoilage.
Repacking high moisture corn should work just fine, he said.
There isn't a lot of information out there on repairing bags damaged by hail, Martens said, but he recommends farmers check with Extension or their farm consultants for answers. Extension web sites are also good places to go for information.