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11 Jan 2017
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Using Polypropylene Straps in the Agricultural Industry

When you have to deal with moving massive amounts of products from one location to another, you want to get the job done quickly and productively. That’s where strapping comes in. However, choosing the correct strap is an important decision to make. You want your straps to successfully ease your transportation efforts instead of worrying about it coming apart at the seams. Therefore, you should look at your options before tying yourself into one type of strap.

polypropylene strapsStrapping: What Is It?

Strapping is defined as using a flat material to bundle items together to hold them in place. However, strapping can also be used to reinforce or fasten products and is ideal for shipping a large amount of product. Many industries strap, including construction, shipping, packaging, lumber, etc. Strapping is also extremely useful in the agricultural industry. When it comes to strapping, there are two broad options to choose from: steel and plastic.


Also known as steel banding, steel strapping was first introduced in the 19th century. Today, it is made by flattening the metal through rolling it. Steel banding comes from two types of rolling: hot rolling and cold rolling. Rolling can be done when the temperature of the metal is below recrystallization of the metal and when it is higher than it. This is how hot rolling and cold rolling got their names.

Use of Steel Straps

Steel straps come in a plethora of thicknesses, widths, and variations in the grade of steel. Straps is built for regular duty, which can hold up to 12,500 pounds and high tensile and uses a low carbon steel to make a high strength and stretch strap for shock resistance. It is mainly used for heavy loads that need strength and minimal stretch. While useful in some cases, it does have its disadvantages, such as the possibility of rusting, tearing or scratching of cargo, lashing and tightening of bounds, heavier weight, higher cost, and the possibility of injury.


Plastic has a much more variety, making it a viable option for a range of applications. Plastic straps come in three different types: nylon, polyester, and nylon.


Nylon strapping has the greatest specific strength of the three plastics, according to its strength/weight ratio. Nylon is strong, but it is expensive.


Polyester is another strong plastic product and can come in woven or nonwoven options. Woven polyester is the most popular choice of the two due to its filaments being weaved together to create a ratcheting tensioner and high joint efficient buckle.


This type of strapping is considered light to medium duty and is the most economical option for a variety of reasons. Polypropylene is the most commonly used of all the strapping materials and comes in different widths, thicknesses, and polymer variations. Polypropylene is recyclable, so it is a more environmentally-friendly option. It has high elongation and recovery, but it does not retain its tension, which will be problematic for solid, heavy items such as a solid brick of products. Also, caution must be used if it will be exposed to UV rays for extended periods of time.

Polypropylene in Agriculture

Polypropylene strapping is best used in agriculture because the products that are being transported do not usually include heavy bricks of concrete or related materials. There a few main reasons that the agricultural industry uses polypropylene when strapping: affordability, durability, and a variety of applications.


As mentioned above, polypropylene is the cheapest choice for strapping. Not only are they the cheapest choice but they are multi-functional. These straps can be used as promotional and marketing tools for your company. Polypropylene can be printed with your company name and logo so that your brand is seen at various locations. If your strapping needs do not require the ability to hold together large blocks of concrete, then you can save a buck, up your marketing efforts and opt for this option.


Polypropylene is resistant to water and additional chemicals that may be present in your products, which makes it uniquely qualified to transfer goods, crops, soil, weeding chemicals, etc. Furthermore, because of its light weight and ability to contract and expand, it will move with your items to ensure that they remain tightly packed and in their proper shapes – especially in variable temperatures. They can hold up to 2,000 pounds and can be sealed with friction welds, seals, buckles, and heat seals. They also do not require as much maintenance as the steel straps. All you have to remember is to keep the straps out of the sunlight because, as warned above, they can become compromised.

Variety of Applications

While the other options for strapping are more rigid and only used for basically one purpose (keeping together tough, heavy objects), polypropylene straps can be applied to virtually anything. You can transport sacks, boxes, bags, crates, or whatever else you need to move.

Its unique ability to take the shape of your product makes it the most versatile choice, which, in agriculture, can be pretty useful. If polypropylene straps meet your needs, then the price and durability make it the best and most affordable option. Discover the myriad of benefits associated with using polypropylene straps in agriculture.

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28 Aug 2016
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Bulk Bags – An Important Part of the Agricultural Industry

Modern agriculture and farming techniques have evolved rapidly during the last few decades. Improvements have been made and are constantly being updated, in all facets of the agriculture industry. With the advent of more effective weed control, fertilizer, seeds, techniques, and strategies, agriculture has become a more streamlined, less wasteful enterprise. This includes the savvy use of bulk bags, also referred to as flexible intermediate bulk containers.

Bulk Bags are Designed to Fit Your Requirements

Waste and spillage have always had a negative effect on a farmer’s bottom line, but with advancing petrochemical (polypropylene) technology, more efficient methods of storage, transportation, and disposal, flexible Intermediate bulk containers (FIBC’s) have become an important part of today’s agriculture industry. Here are some of the many ways that bulk bags can improve the bottom line for today’s agriculture professional.

Multiple Sizes Available

There are different sizes and load parameters available when considering a flexible intermediate bulk container. Normally, bulk bags will have a width between 45 and 48 inches which enables them to be loaded side-by-side in a standard 96-inch wide semi-trailer. With many different sizes available, agricultural professionals can maximize their storage or transportation requirements.

Tremendous Weight to Load Ratio

Since they are considered “intermediate,” bulk bags are designed for loads of up to 5000 pounds. Bulk bags weigh between 5 – 7 lbs. per unit. Therefore, the amount of product which can be transported is increased significantly when compared to other storage products. This enables the transportation or storage of large amounts of material within a fairly small area, a factor which is crucial when considering your bottom line.

Multi-Use Bags

Most super sack variants are multiple-use designs. The 5:1 ratio bags are single-use bags and are capable of holding between 500 – 4000 pounds of product. Six to one ratio bags and UN approved 6:1 bags can be used multiple times.

Product Protection

Bag liners are available to add moisture protection when storing your product. They can be sewn into the fabric seams for permanent protection. Bulk bags with a bottom discharge can employ a liner which is “tabbed” into all eight corners of the container. Tabbing prevents the bag from slipping during discharge. Bag liners are constructed of polyethylene.

Sack Designs to Suit Your Needs

Different materials require different methods of loading or unloading a super sack. There are standard bag designs. However, if the need arises, bulk bags can also be customized them to suit a customer’s needs. Bulk bags (FIBC’s) come in a duffle top, open top, or spout top. Spouts can be customized to fit the particular filling apparatus. Bag bottoms are available in a number of different styles. For a faster unload, conical bottom bags are available. Bulk bags are also available in closed bottom, diaper bottom, or fully open configurations.

Additional Customization

In addition to specifically designed bag bottoms, the lift loops can be tailored for forklift or crane lifting. Loops can be configured in a “corners,” “cross corners,” or “Stevedore” manner. Bulk bags can also be personalized by requesting custom logo printing or bag colors.

Bulk Bags Have Many Uses for Your Agricultural Needs

With the versatility of bulk bags in mind, there are ways FIBC’s can be used by agricultural businesses to help control the bottom line.

Transportation and Storage of Fertilizer

Without a doubt, any agricultural venture would be greatly hampered without fertilizer. FIBC’s protect the fertilizer as it is transported, ensuring that it will be effective when needed. The right fertilizer, stored in the proper manner is a must for a successful business. Bulk bags can store, protect, and transport fertilizer, and are of great utility in the distribution of this precious commodity. Whether an agricultural business uses organic or inorganic fertilizer, bulk bags are the safest, most economical way to protect this investment.

Transportation and Storage of Seed

Right behind fertilizer in agricultural importance is seed. Without seeds, there is no crop to harvest. The seed can be adversely affected by so many factors including moisture, rodents, birds, and time. Proper storage is a must. When used in a cool, dry, environment, bulk bags will protect the seed for up to a year against adverse conditions and pests.

Crop Storage and Transportation

Harvesting ultimately requires storage and transportation of the crops. Bulk bags can help businesses to get the most profit from their efforts. They are the most efficient, affordable, convenient, and cost-effective manner for transporting crops to their end destination.

A damaged product is a useless product. Super sack bulk containers will help protect harvested crops, even if storage is required until it is time for transportation. Businesses can count on a healthy, profitable harvest.

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31 Jul 2016
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The Best Packaging to Use for Agricultural Bulk Shipping

Agricultural packaging is essential to the food industry. Packaging prevents food from being spoiled or ruined by pests or toxins from packages. In a health conscious world demanding to know where our food comes from, the packaging is crucial. Some packages may not hold up very well, and may become susceptible to pests or the external elements such as wet weather. For these reasons, bulk bags are one of the most affordable and effective ways to store and transport dry goods and produce. Consider the packaging best used for agricultural bulk shipping.

300x250The Importance of Agricultural Packaging

In the United States, there are over three million people farming and/or ranching. Many agricultural products, particularly dry goods and certain produce, are transported in bulk bags. Fresh products should be delivered to preserve the quality and integrity of the food. The freshness and taste are essential to selling excellent produce.

Eliminate Unnecessary Waste

About half of the food is wasted during the production process. Post-harvest treatment procedures and lack of storage or inadequate transportation also contribute to waste. The importance of agricultural packaging preserves as much food as possible. Excellent packaging can ensure short and long-term stability between farmers and the public.

Produce and Packaging

Produce should pair well with the type of packaging used. It helps the quality crop yields, especially for fresh produce. Different foods require different types of packaging. There are primary concerns that need to meet packaging standards. Ventilation is crucial to the packaging. Heat should be able to escape, and the produce should be able to cool quickly. Produce water loss should be minimized. It will help the produce stay fresh. When the produce spoils, it can become costly for the agricultural industry.

Safety Matters

The packaging should be safe to handle. Injuries should not occur from the packaging. It should be safe to transport and easy to handle. Bulk bags hold up to thousands of pounds of dry goods. The bulk bags are moved by machinery through the use of loops. These loops can be placed in certain locations for ease of operation. Bulk bags can be customized to meet the needs of all types of customers and shipments.

Special Packaging Is Often Required

Different products require different types of packaging. There should be a separate package for every single type of produce. There are several different types of packaging available. Case and carton, flexible packaging, and retail ready packaging are available. The packaging used for bulk shipments is a great concern as this is where the largest losses can occur. It must be durable, reliable, and suitable for the products being transported. For this reason, flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) are usually the containers of choice when companies are handling dry, flow-able goods such beans, rice, and more.

Improving the Shipment Processes

Packing that improves the shipment process is crucial. Packaging should be cost-effective as well and develop key branding. Bulk bags can be specially developed to accommodate the unique needs of each type of product being transported. For example, customized printing can be added to woven polypropylene bulk bags to help brand the business. This may include the company’s name, logo and/or slogan. The woven poly bulk bags can also be printed with the contents contained within to help keep regional, national, and international shipments well-organized.

Working With a Professional

Choosing the right packaging for your agricultural business’ needs can be a challenge. Measurements need to be taken. The types of products being transported and stored must be carefully considered. Wholesale bulk bags come in various sizes and materials. Work with a professional to determine which super sacks and configurations are ideal for your purposes. Western Packaging takes pride in helping its agricultural customers find the perfect solutions for their agricultural packaging needs.

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17 Jul 2016
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Polypropylene in Bulk Bags and Agricultural Strapping

The agricultural industry moves at a fast pace to keep up with product supply and customer demand. It is continually looking for ways to maximize production without having to sacrifice the quality of goods customers receive. The use of polypropylene in bulk bags and strapping used for agricultural packaging helps keep the industry production process running smoothly.

western blog 1 mar 2016 300x250-2About Polypropylene

Polypropylene is a plastic resin chemical that combines propylene and other materials. The finished product can be molded or reshaped into a new structure for use in various formats including packaging, labeling, textiles and plastic reusable containers.

Polypropylene in the Agricultural Industry

The agricultural industry leans towards polypropylene for its uncompromising quality, making it resistant to water and any additional chemicals that may be present. These elements do not alter the polypropylene’s properties, ensuring that it remains durable for even the most active use on a farm.

Basics About Bulk Bags

Bulk bags are in just about every aspect of the agricultural and farming industry. These bags are made from flexible fabrics that make storage and transportation of products and materials a hassle-free process. These bags feature one, two or four loops for use when loading and unloading the bags for transportation. A forklift can easily hook onto these loops and place the bags on a pallet or truck. When the products inside are ready for use, a single opening at the bottom allows for easy dispensing of the contents inside.

Using Bulk Bags in the Agricultural Industry

The agricultural industry utilizes bulk bags for packaging because of the durability and flexibility that the polypropylene material provides. For these bags, polypropylene is present in a woven format that is either coated or uncoated. The average measurement of these bags is 35 to 48 inches in diameter with a height of 35 to 80 inches. Polypropylene provides durability by creating bulk bags that can hold up to 2,000 pounds with ease. This material also allows for the bags to be lightweight, weighing only five to seven pounds when not in use.

Incorporating Polypropylene into Agricultural Bulk Bags

In the agricultural industry, many of the products are on the heavier side. Things such as sand, fertilizer, harvest crops and storage supplies can quickly go into the bulk bags without having to worry that the bag may break under the weight’s pressure. The presence of polypropylene removes that concern and allows the focus to remain on the task at hand.

Basics About Strapping

Strapping is a vital component of the agricultural and farming industry. These straps are made of a flat material and can bind large quantities of items together for easier storage and transportation. Strapping can even be utilized for binding items together for shipping across the country. The polypropylene provides a level of security that serves as a binding agent that can withstand a rigorous shipping adventure or lengthy storage time inside a warehouse, without breaking or tearing. Once the item of interest is secured in place, a buckle seal closure forms. At that point, it can only be opened with a utility knife or heavy-duty pair of scissors.

Polypropylene Strapping in Agriculture

The agricultural industry benefits from using polypropylene strapping in virtually all aspects of the production process. These straps can easily transport animal feed from the storage location to the field when the animals’ feeding time arrives. Additional pallets of animal feed can be bound together for storage or sale to customers that may be in need of feed for their livestock. Bales of hay can also easily be stowed away in a warehouse and be accessed during feeding times or sold to customers who are in need of hay.

Advantages of Polypropylene Strapping

These straps are created to hold tightly to your item of choice while providing an adequate amount of movement tension. When in place, the straps move with the items they hold together while also expanding and contracting as needed due to changes in temperature. This makes polypropylene the ideal material for shipping or storage in a warehouse during seasonal weather changes. The polypropylene straps also provide the agricultural industry with the ability to engage in promotional marketing without breaking the bank. The durability of the straps and their availability in a variety of widths makes them the perfect promotional campaign format for farmers and others in the agricultural industry. These straps offer the chance to spread a message or promote a product or service when selling products bound together with them.

Safely transporting, storing and shipping goods and harvesting crops are vital parts of the agricultural industry. These items are often cumbersome and bulky in size and shape while also being in high demand by businesses and consumers. Bulk bags can easily accommodate products ranging from harvest crops for consumers to fertilizer for distribution in the fields. Proper strapping binds together a variety of goods for shipping or selling to consumers. Using bulk bags and strapping made from polypropylene is an economical and practical approach to managing the demands of the agricultural industry.

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18 Mar 2016
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Agricultural Uses for Stretch Film Pallet Wrap

Stretch film is one of the most commonly used products in the agriculture industry. Stretch film is usually made of linear low-density polyethylene or LLDP. This material is what gives stretch film its most common characteristics, such as the ability to extend far past its original size and puncture resistance. Other key characteristics of stretch film include limited gas permeability, resistance to UV light, and the ability to adapt to different atmospheric conditions. Some factors to consider when purchasing stretch film include thickness and moisture resistance. There are a variety of agricultural uses for stretch film pallet wrap, from protecting items in transit to transporting bales of hay and much more. Consider these ways to use stretch film pallet wrap in agriculture, from the earliest stages to the latest.

300x250 (1)Wrapping Bale Silage

When wrapping bale silage, it is crucial to make sure that the film you are using has a high stretching capacity and minimum gas permeability. Mold growth is the most common affliction that ruins bales of hay, It can fester in bales that are inadequately stored and transported. Stretch film is ideal in such situations as the film can easily cover the bale as soon as it is pressed, preventing heating and mold growth. Additionally, stretch film that can withstand different atmospheric conditions allows you to be sure that your bale is being protected from the elements. Film that can limit UV exposure can further protect bales over long-distance transit as it keeps the grass as fresh as it was when wrapped.

Storing Produce

It is important to protect produce while it is awaiting transportation. Since stretch film is so resilient against changing weather conditions, farmers can easily wrap their crops and produce in bulk and store the products in a dry space for a short period of time until the products are ready to be moved. Most of the harm that shortens the lifespan of produce comes from exposure to outside elements, such as heat and air. Wrapping the produce as soon as possible can protect it from these elements. As long as you keep your produce in storage for a reasonable amount of time, stretch film can extend the freshness of your products.

Centralizing Products

In keeping with the idea of storage, stretch film can also help centralize a farmer’s products, easing organization and maximizing space. Once wrapped and stacked, pallets of produce can be wrapped as a unit, creating a clean and angled pallet, about three feet high. This allows farmers to store their products efficiently in a small warehouse or loading dock before the next scheduled time for transit. The strong load retention of stretch film can mean more products stored in smaller spaces, opening up more floor space for more produce. In these cases, space is money – and you cannot afford to waste either.

Moving Produce

For farmers that regularly transport produce, stretch film pallet wrap is a fundamental part of their business. The wrap encompasses all the products that are transported. It is commonly wrapped around these products four to eight times. The thickness of the wrap changes the amount of overlaps needed. This method ensures that when the pallets of produce are moved the produce does not shake too much in its packaging. When the wrap is too loose, the produce can get bruised or broken, resulting in lost profit for the farmer. The idea of continued freshness and efficient centralization also carries over into transit. Stretch film that can protect against the elements can ensure that the produce remains in optimal condition, from the farm to the table.

The versatility of stretch film pallet wrap makes it an integral part of a farmer’s life. Stretch film pallet wrap is involved in nearly every stage of a crop’s life, from seedling to transportation. The protection it offers is the difference between wasted produce and happy buyers, and its efficiency makes the difference between a chaotic warehouse and an organized one. Plus, stretch film can be customized to suit your needs, from hay wrap to hand wrap.

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05 Mar 2016
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5 Benefits of Custom Printed Woven Polypropylene Bulk Bags

When you’re looking for agricultural packaging solutions, you’re probably considering numerous options from different brands to different materials and packaging styles. One option is to look for woven polypropylene bulk bags, which are quickly becoming the industry standard for packaging of all kinds, from feed to seed, grain to produce. Furthermore, you can opt to have your bulk bags custom printed with your brand name, logo, or any other information you desire – a strategy that can do wonders for your business brand and promotion strategy, as well as customer loyalty and retention. Here are five advantages of custom printed woven polypropylene bulk bags. Keep these in mind as you consider your options.

300x250_banner1 (1)1. Durability

If you’re looking for bulk bags that will last, weathering heavy contents as well as transport and distribution, this is it. Woven polypropylene bulk bags are structured to support whatever is placed within them, which means that you can rest assured knowing that no rips or tears will befall your product’s packaging. Plus, you can select from almost any custom size to find the perfect option to fit your product and your needs. Long periods of storage will not wear down this durable material, which is extremely resistant to stress, temperature, most alkali and acid, organic solvents, degreasing agents and electrolytic attack.

2. Branding

The elusive concept of “branding” is all-important for any business, no matter how large or small. Simply put, branding is the process of creating an image for your business, or a way that your customers (and potential customers) perceive you. Building a brand involves not just the graphic elements, such as a logo and color scheme, but also the most subliminal aspects such as your overall message, mission, and business model. When your customers think of your business, they will have a certain image of you in mind, and it is this image that you want to be able to influence in the shape that you want it to take.

Branding is important because a business with a better brand attracts more customers, and is better able to retain the customers that it has. When you can immediately bring to mind positive qualities such as reliability, efficiency, and quality just by showing your brand’s logo, your customers will immediately go to you instead of searching out alternative options from your competitors. As a result, the custom printing option for woven polypropylene bulk bags is exactly what your business needs to build its brand. Inscribe your name, logo, slogan, or any other graphic that you know will help represent your business for your customers and build in their minds a positive image of your brand identity.

3. Promotion

Although it may seem obvious, few people realize exactly how much of an impact a custom printed package has on product promotion. When your customers purchase your product, you can be assured that others in the industry will see the package as well. Showing your name, logo, or other details on your bulk bags serve as a great promotion technique, raising awareness of your brand name and attracting more customers without spending a cent on
actual advertising.

4. Economy

Since polypropylene is so easy and quick to produce, it is an extremely affordable material. This means that you won’t have to spend so much of your budget on packaging, and instead, can allocate more money towards other aspects of your business. Ultimately, saving money is good both for your profits and for the impact that you can have on the areas you channel the extra money into, from marketing to product quality to production.

5. Versatility

With custom printed woven polypropylene bulk bags, you have a number of options to choose from to find the packaging that is right for you. For example, you can start with the standard woven poly bulk bag, which is flexible in both size and number – that means that you can order as many as you need for the agricultural products you are shipping, and also vary the sizes of the bags depending upon the quantity in each bulk package. Furthermore, you can choose from a number of different fabric colors and printing options depending upon your business’ design elements, the nature of the goods you are shipping, and the audience that you want to reach.

Ultimately, these decisions are all in your hands rather than set in a predetermined sequence, allowing you and your business to enjoy the versatility of these bags for your agricultural and farming needs.

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23 Dec 2015
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Six Ways Bulk Bags Are Used in Agriculture

One of the industries that use bulk bags most often is agriculture. The size, shape, and configuration of these bags are conducive for many of the jobs that need to be accomplished in a normal day for farmers. Bulk bags also provide the perfect environment for agricultural products to be stored, used, and transported in a way that is beneficial to farmers, transporters, and end users. Bulk bags are incredibly versatile for the agricultural industry, as they have quite a number of varied uses. Following are six ways bulk bags are used in agriculture.

"Harvesting soybeans" by Jake was here - Transferred from [1]: 2006-12-12 00:03 . . Jake was here . . 2048×1536 (647673 bytes) . . it is a mythical combine from this years mythical soybean harvest no corn harvest pic yet available for this year – dad combineing soybeans. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - Crop storage

Bulk bags are ideal for storage. Farmers can store their crops in bulk bags until they are ready to ship. They also provide the perfect storage place for crops until they are ready for use or sale. Their storage capacity is not limited to crops. Bulk bags can also store other items that are essential to the agricultural industry. They are a great way for farmers and other agriculture professionals to remain organized.

2. Crop transportation

The agriculture industry relies heavily on the safe transportation of crops. If crops are unable to get from Point A to Point B without issue, they are no good to the end user. Vegetables are delicate, and if they are crushed or marred in any way, they will not be able to be sold to supermarkets or other outlets. Vegetables are not the only crops that are transported in bulk bags. Crops such as wheat, barley and nuts are also carried in them. Bulk bags provide the protection these products need to arrive at their final destination safely so they can be transformed into bread and other products consumers need.

3. Seed storage and transportation

Just as the transportation of crops is important to the agricultural industry, so is the transportation of seeds and fertilizer. Seeds need to be kept in a dry, well-conditioned, cool location for them to be usable. They also need to be kept away and protected from various animals, such as birds and rodents, which can eat the seeds. Any loss of these products can cost a farmer more money. Bulk bags are the ideal environment for seeds to be stored and transported. Many seeds can be stored for up to one year, although some seeds can be stored for an even longer period of time. For example, watermelon seeds can remain safe and usable for as many as eight years.

4. Fertilizer storage

Fertilizer is perhaps the most important tool for a farmer. Without it, crops simply will not grow. Bulk bags are ideal for storing fertilizer and distributing it among the crops. Not only are bulk bags large enough to hold a significant amount of fertilizer, but they are also pliable enough to move easily. Bulk bags are ideal for both organic and inorganic fertilizers.

5. Fertilizer transportation

Fertilizer can come in many forms, including liquid, semi-liquid, and dry. Each type of fertilizer needs to travel to its final destination in a safe and ecologically friendly manner that also allows it to be loaded and removed from a truck in a convenient way. Bulk bags provide a safe environment that will ensure the fertilizer does not get contaminated and become unusable. Further, the handles on the bulk bags make it easy to load and unload the fertilizer without much effort.

6. Green initiatives

People in the agricultural industry know and understand more than anyone how vital it is to the planet to take steps to conserve energy and help preserve the planet for future generations. By using bulk bags instead of paper bags for transportation and storage of seeds, beans, nuts and other products, the agricultural industry is making great strides in the conservation arena. Currently, many growers of soybeans have already made the switch to bulk bags, and the corn industry is starting to make headway as well. The move away from paper bags and cardboard boxes toward bulk bags is quickly changing the entire agriculture industry as a whole. Often bulk bags are reusable, making them an ideal green option.

The versatility of bulk bags makes them the perfect choice to be used in an abundance of applications on farms and in other agricultural settings. Their size, shape and pliability combined with their light weight and durability to create an economical way for the agricultural industry to get the job done. Plus, bulk bags can be customized to suit your unique needs as well as printed to brand your business or properly organize your products.

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17 Dec 2015
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How to Select the Size of a Bulk Bag

Bulk bags, often referred to as flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), provide a cost-efficient and inexpensive solution when it comes to material handling, storing and transportation. Do you need a bulk bag? How do you determine the size you need? Bulk bags come in a range of sizes. Your bulk bag must be the right size for you, your material and finally, your customer. Discover how to select the size of a bulk bag.

Photo: JLPC / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia CommonsConsider the Material or Product

Let’s consider the following question. Which weighs more – one pound of feathers, or one pound of rocks? If you said rocks, you would have answered the question incorrectly. No matter how you look at it, one pound is one pound. It doesn’t matter if it’s rocks or feathers. They both weigh the same.

Low-Density Materials

The easiest way to determine if you have a low-density or high-density material is to determine its weight. It’s relatively easy to say that you need a bigger bag to carry one pound of feathers than you do one pound of rocks. You can probably carry a single pound of rocks in your bare hands. However, one pound of feathers requires a bag so big that it may require a truck to transport. Low-density materials weigh less, allowing you to choose a larger bag.

High-Density Materials

High-density materials weigh more. Therefore, your bag must be smaller. We’re not talking bags the size of shoe boxes. These are still bulk bags. If you have an unusually heavy product, you may want to consider a smaller bag. That way, the bag can handle more pressure per square inch without bursting or breaking.

Determine the Minimum and Maximum Dimensions

When you determine your bag size, remember that, when you transport it, the only part of the bag that is in contact with your carrier is the base of the bag. However, don’t neglect the fact that these are flexible bags. A properly filled bag will belly at the sides and increase your dimensions by up to 20 percent. You have the ability to prevent this – at an increased cost – by purchasing bags with internal baffles.

The Minimum Size

For this, you have to determine the minimum size of your carrier. In other words, where are you going to store the bag? How are you going to transport the bag? The only part of the bag that touches the carrier is the base. To ensure that your bags can fit inside your carrier, your bags width or length (whichever is longer) must be shorter than the capacity that your carrier can handle. For example, if the internal width of the tractor-trailer is 96 inches and you plan on putting two bags side-by-side, then the width of your bags must be shorter than 48 inches. If you put two 48 inch bags side-by-side, you will get 96 inches. Anything longer than that and your bags will not fit in the trailer.

The Maximum Size

Now that we have the minimum size, we can use this to determine the maximum size. Take the figure for the width and add it to the value for the length. Multiply this number by two and divide by pi (3.14159) and you will have the diameter of the filled bag. For example, if your width is 34 inches and your length is 41 inches, you can add these two together to get 75. Multiply 75 x 2 and you get 150. If you divide 150 x 3.14159, you get 47.75. The diameter of the filled bag will not exceed 47.75 inches. If you plan on putting two bags side-by-side, it will be less than 96 inches – but only by one-half of an inch. It will barely fit, and it may give you a little bit of trouble.

Other Design Features to Consider

There is no standard when it comes to designing your bulk bag. However, there are other design features to consider depending on how you handle the material.

Lifting Loops

Lifting loops come in all sorts of sizes. Usually, the lifting loops are designed to go around the tines of a fork on a forklift. They usually hang loose on the side of the bag until they’re ready to be used. When they are used, they need an overhead clearance.

Filling Inlets

How do you intend on filling the bag? The filling inlet is usually on the top of the bag and can help you determine the size of the bag. When you fill your bag, never fill it 100 percent. Only fill it up to the 90 percent capacity line. This allows you to close your filling inlet completely.

Discharge Outlets

The discharge outlet is how your customer will empty the bag. Often times, the discharge outlet is held close with a drawstring. If you’re transporting packing peanuts, you may wish to have a large discharge outlet. However, if your product requires precise measurements, a smaller discharge outlet with a more controlled release may be necessary.

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11 Dec 2015
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What is a Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container?

One frequently asked question in logistics is, “What is a flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC)?” Often FIBCs are referred to as bulk bags, super sacks and totes. An FIBC is a container that has been used to transport bulk materials in the agricultural, chemical and construction industries since the 1950s. Conceptually, it is simply a very big bag – a bag that is designed to transport and store over 2000 pounds of a flow-able material.


FIBCs are large, cubic, flexible containers made out of a woven fabric, usually with four loops on each of the top four corners. When filled with material, these bags can weigh up to 2000 pounds or more. The loops are designed to be placed around the forks of a forklift to move the container from one location to another. You can also place the bag on a pallet and lift it up from underneath – an option that places considerably less stress on the bag itself. However, pallets are not necessarily needed.

What is a flow-able material?

Flow-able material means anything that is dry and granulated. For example, imagine an hourglass. The sand in an hourglass flows from one side to the other through a tiny opening. This is a perfect example of what a flow-able material is. Other examples include dirt, cement, powdered chemicals, and even food.

A Short History

No one knows when FIBCs first came into widespread use. Their history has been traced to the 1950s, and they have been used for a variety of purposes. Initially, they were manufactured from PVC-coated nylon or polyester. With the advent of polypropylene in the 1960s, FIBCs started seeing widespread use throughout the chemical industries for storing powdered and granulated chemicals.

What Makes These Bags Popular?

The ratio of cost and benefit is one of the best that anyone can hope for. When the bag is empty, it weighs nothing more than five to seven pounds. When it is full, it will weigh as much as 2000 pounds, and can transport a full metric ton of material. Although reusable, many people simply cut the bag open when they are ready to pour the transported material out. These bags are economical, inexpensive to own, and make managing loose, flowing materials simple and easy.

Maximize Your Space with a Smaller Footprint

When stacked side-by-side, your space is maximized with FIBCs. Since they are made out of a flexible material, you have a little bit of play in the container itself, enabling you to fit more material in a smaller footprint. When stacked in a semi-tractor trailer, two containers sitting side-by-side will fill the width of the truck perfectly.

Different Forms and Properties

These bags come in many different structural forms with various electrostatic properties. Structural forms refer to how the bag is made, its different features, and the specifications that comprise its structure. These can include construction types such as u-panel, circular, and baffle.

Common Uses

Just about any dry, granulated material can be securely stored and transported in bulk bags. Primarily used by the chemical and agricultural industries, these bags can store and transport a variety of materials. Food products include seeds, cereal, starch, grains, beans and peanuts. Other agricultural products that may be stored and transported in bulk bags are topsoil, fertilizers, gravel and sand. Bulk bags are also used for chemicals and construction materials such as pigments, cement, fiberglass, plastics, detergents and other powdered chemicals.

FIBCs are flexible, can often be disposable, and will get a job done efficiently and within budget. With FIBCs, users are given the ability to transport and store these materials at a much lower cost than any other possible option.

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07 Dec 2015
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The History of Bulk Bags and How They are Used Today

Industries involved with shipping materials are always concerned with finding the best and most cost-effective ways to get their goods from origin to destination. A bulk bag is a great shipping container for companies that need to distribute dry, flow-able goods. Discover the history of bulk bags and how they are used today.

Bongoman Wikimedia CommonsWhat is a bulk bag?

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), commonly known as bulk bags, are intermediate bulk containers that have bodies made of flexible fabric that must meet the following parameters:

– They cannot be handled manually when they are filled
– They are intended for shipment of solid material in powder, flake, or material form
– They do not require additional handling
– They are designed to be lifted from the top using integral, permanently attached devices (loops or straps)

The beginning uses of bulk bags

FIBCs have been in use for decades. The exact date of their first use is unclear, but it occurred somewhere between the late 1950s and early 1960s. These bags were mostly used in the United States, Europe, and Japan.


The original bulk bags were made from heavy-duty PVC-coated nylon or polyester. The cut sheets were welded together to create the bags. These bags also had lift swings that were integrated into the container or attached to a special pallet. The swing made it easier to load the bag from the top and empty it from the bottom.

Growth in the ‘70s

In Europe, bulk bags experienced a surge of use in the 1970s due to the oil crisis. The countries that produced the oil needed a large amount of cement to use for their building programs. They used bulk bags to transport the cement at the amount of 30,000-50,000 metric tons per week from Northern Europe, Spain, and Italy to the Middle East.

The demand for bulk containers in the United States

The demand for bulk bags grew slower in the United States than it did in Europe. However, in 1984 the demand started to grow rather quickly due to the U.S. Department of Transportation agreeing to grant exemptions for bulk bags to be used for the shipment of hazardous materials. This decision required the creation of performance standards for FIBCs that were established and issued by the Chemical Packaging Committee of the Packaging Institute.

Features of FIBCs

FIBCs have several unique features. First, they can be folded flat, which results in easier shipment to the user. They have a low package-to-product ratio, as they only weigh between five and seven pounds. The cost of bulk bags is competitive. Other types of packaging and pallets are not necessary when bulk bags are used. Further, they are simple to store and easy for warehouse workers to handle. When FIBCs are used for shipping via boat, they can be shipped as break bulk.


A standard-sized bulk bag varies based on the application. They are designed to fit two across in a truck or shipping container. However, they can be custom-made to fit the needs of the user. Manufacturers are able to change the height, diameter, and length. The length of the spout and treatment of the fabric of an FIBC can also be customized.

Shipping hazardous materials

When a bulk bag is used for shipping hazardous materials, it must be marked with the UN mark that is associated with the product. The container must also be certified by a third-party lab in all countries except the United States, where that action is a suggested option.

Shipping of non-hazardous materials

Bulk bags containing non-hazardous materials that are to be exported must have a performance test and certification if the country of destination requires that it be done.

Why Should You Use Bulk Bags?

The need to use bulk bags continues to grow. Consider just a few of the leading reasons to use bulk bags.

– They have the lowest package to product ratio of any intermediate bulk container.
– They can be handled, transported and stored without pallets.
– When empty, they are lightweight and can fold flat.
– They can be customized.
– They have a wide range of uses, including chemical, mineral, food and agriculture.
– They are recyclable.

Common Uses of Bulk Bags

Many industries can benefit from using bulk bags. Some common uses of bulk bags today include the shipment of:

– Chemicals
– Fertilizers
– Fiberglass
– Food products
– Grains
– Construction materials
– Pigments
– Plastics
– Seeds
– Peanuts
– Starch

If you are a shipper in need of transporting and storing dry, flow-able goods, consider using bulk bags. They are strong and durable containers that have truly stood the test of time. If you are in need of bulk bags, contact Western Shipping to get the supplies you need for shipping and storing a wide variety of goods.

Thank you for reading our blog. How can we help you? Contact us today.