While the anticipated size of the harvest could have a stabilising effect on food price inflation, an increasingly competitive global market continues to pressure South African producers to find new ways of cutting costs on grain and silage storage.
One such method is the use of massive Hitec grain bags on sites around the country, which is the result of a new deal between South African agricultural specialists Rhino Plastics – part of the sustainable solutions group of companies, Rhino Group – and Greece based master batches and agricultural films manufacturer Plastika Kritis.
“This deal not only has significance for the local market in terms of better value, it also offers the industry a far superior product,” says Rhino Group MD Brian van Niekerk.
This comes after a report was released by government’s Crop Estimates Committee on January 26, stating that South African maize farmers are set to have their hands full come harvest time, after planting almost a third more hectares this season.
The report indicated that 2.5-million hectares had been allocated to maize, which marks a 31% increase on the 1.9-million planted during the previous, drought-ridden year.
Owing to this, the Hitec grain bags enable improved quality and the ability to engineer and improve costs on the end product, impacting on South Africa’s ability to remain globally competitive, he says.
Van Niekerk notes that the bags boast a trademarked, seven-layered barrier film, dramatically increasing the strength of the bags, while, more importantly, reducing the oxygen permeability of the film.
He also claims that since introducing the product, demand from across the country has surged. “Customers range from farmers to agricultural organisations stretching into Southern Africa.”
Rhino Plastics director Brendan Kelly says the bags are a solution for storing grains such as wheat, barley, maize, sorghum, soybean, rice, rye and legumes, which are increasingly in demand globally.
The seven-layered Hitec grain bag is one of many agricultural products supplied by Rhino Plastics.
Other products include silage films, balewrap film, green house films, liner low density polyethylene irrigation pipe, mulch films and dam liners, among other related products.
“The grain can be loaded in the bags directly from the harvester or from a truck and be stored safely for up to two years.
Additional benefits include lower initial investment, on-site storage, flexibility and savings on freight,” notes Kelly.
He says that the grain bags supplied by Rhino Plastics were used extensively by their clients during the 2016 intake season to store wheat, barley and oats – among other grains and silage.
He also states that the bags handle very well on bagging machinery and have high-quality stretching and durability properties.
The Hitec grain and silage bags create a hermetic environment, which promotes oxygen depletion and simultaneous carbon dioxide production.
This is because of the respiratory process of the biotic components inside the bag, Kelly adds.
“The new atmosphere in the bag, rich in carbon dioxide and poor in oxygen, suppresses, deactivates, or reduces not only the reproduction or development capacity of insects and fungi, but also the grain’s own activity, in turn, facilitating its preservation. Users report that the Hitec bag packs between 5% and 10% more grain than other bags of the same size,” he concludes.