Utilization of cotton and other materials in fertilizer bags


Material Information

Utilization of cotton and other materials in fertilizer bags
Physical Description:
25, 1 p. : ; 27 cm
Cheatham, R. J
Evans, Robert B
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics
Place of Publication:
Washington, D.C
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Cotton   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Statement of Responsibility:
R. J. Cheatham and Robert B. Evans

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028421644
oclc - 85233273
System ID:

Full Text



By R. J. Cheatham, Senior Cotton Technologist, and
Robert B. Evans, Junior Agricultural Economist

Washington, D. C.
January 1939

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2013



3By R. J. Cherithan, Senior Cctton Techrclorist and
Robe:rt P. Ev&ais, Junior Agricultara1 Economist ii


Introduction .. . . . . . . . . . . . . ... 1
Methods )f obtiining inomto ....................
Fertilizer and. th-- fertilizer indl) ,tr ................ 4
Types of bago -a d Use of cotton in fertilizer b,&_s........................................ 12
Use of other t-yes of fertilizer bPjs......................... ............1
Factors influencn ig tlW use of, cotton fe-~tiliz."r b'. ....................1

Comparative cost of cotton ond o~e bas...............................19
Fertilizer manufrict-irersl 4ii; o -)to i~.................1
~~uanir~~~~arl~or 0"d conluios..........................................2

Cottcn's dominntA position in the textile field. is due to its econom-ic nmd technoio, -ical rdva-ntnge in thousands ofuseo to which it has been~ adanted. In xian- o-f tilesu it is in constant compatitien with rther m Ateriio,~ PrVi c e chaxnOeo, tech.-nolo- cal imsprovements, -,.rd other factors sometimes strergthe its position in such uses r-nd sometimes w,_akc-n 1it.

Cotton is apparently becomil.C of ir-c2crisin,, i.. -ortrace in the manufacture of fertilizer bags. Fra~mentary evidence a indica-te:d fi)r soT.e tl--,tat increasing :numbers of" cotton bags are bei--1i6 used in th- feirtiliz,_r inc --:t~y. The10 Gtudy here reported upon ras madec to obt!An a cawti native knowlod~&C of the trend anI present positions of" cotton -.s a L r material for fertilizer --i-d to asccrtain the factors dete .ining, its uoe for this purpoe It is ho-ped that information and coricluc-,iors amplic-ablo to other uses of cotton T-W,- be derived, from this study.

Li' Ackiiowled c-2Y -,t is mackd of the --ssistran-ce roridorec b,-, the Natina,_l Fertilizer
Association, -.nd by meL.be3rs of' the fer:tilize-r and ba, industries, whose c'ooperation m-ade -nossiblc; the completinoii 02 thlis survey and report. Certain
staff members of the 3h.reara of Chemistry a nd Soils and the Pr of griciatura. Economics -also assisted.


1 t i s e s t i L ,- t t n a t da i n, 1 3 7 t1-- e ',ju i w l n t o f i i--h t 1 y I t,,q-An
'tLdes of co-tor, w,-,s -se. i-, t''ie -.-irr:,Zacture of fertilizer ba .-s. Although
sc:7 rcely mcre th-n f'-,-,Ct1oii o--" total cotton -Qroduction, a study of this use is wwr=an-ted for than one reEsor. First, most individual uses of cotton
are or,::,on.rativ,, ly sm _Jl. S,. con,;, 10 c- 12 years ago tht use of cotton for fertii-er bl,- '--'3 7,7s il':10st Third, n1thou:,h at -.resent only abcut 12 -,3rcent t no -' -L I zo r tonr a, :o i c c.K'-Cg:'ed in cc t ton Iba gs, if the enti re t we re
.4 000 allus of cotton
1- cotton bai:s, it is estim--ted t1iE;t P.s iTach as lt35,
,7,3 u 1 d I D ra ,:aircd 'inuaily. '-'---e pot, ntial utilization cf cotton in this field 2, Orel ot imrortr.nce.

It is estimated th-at more than 116 riillio-n reT)resentin a value of
-tween 8 and S million rere required for -,.ac1"aging fertilizer luring
1937. Of this total, -r-rroxii .,irtely 19 baj-s, v,-)lued ar a1cout $1,500,000
e made of cott-on.

s fertilizer is uso i 7nost e-itensivt3ly durin the spring, involving a
nLLmb--r o-1 o--f' ':* t-',]Le prcdaction of text-'I-e-bag factories dur7onths ,ces to th, fertilizer indv-stry7

",'c -rrocur ori- -iral data or-, the usc of cotton ,nd oth,,,r ty.;ocs of baLs by
r i 1 i z E; r f c t-a r -a r s questionnalros Wore s, r.t 4-0 73 mn-.ufacturers listed
-ty -,!Ae 'N-atio-nal Fcrtilizer Associ-tion, r,3rresentin. 3n-tiro fertilizer indusThey we're isk,-,d to sur--,-Iy nf o 1 on The types of bags used
at e,-,cn of th, -ir 920 -clents 1937, to --ivo th, ir opinion as to- the conparatllre advantage! ,,s of varioas t-1pes of b-i.-s, and to furnis.-i certain othor data.
:10 -1 an t s n n.-,Taf ac tu
ret,.irns from 9 of t1ie tctal of 920 comnerrial
n- f i 7. c r s c r,,-, r e i v e 1. 1heSe T.1ants yacka, -,cd in b,- 7s, dur4r.- 1937, zer, or an esti.m,- ted 57 percent of the total consumption CIU -:1 v plants reportin,::- in the VIqXious
0 f -r i tliat vear. 1.11V71DCr of
s t i- 7- 1 cou:1try, atnd the jross tolnna,;e repros, ntcd in their reT.orts, aro Z 1 r 7n i Th ,, infor.nation is 1,r i-sented rccordin to t".,P, or
I- !, -, Lljy -P0110T.0d in t* escntL tion rf statistic, o tho
r 0'.1- S7 3 iie i.r
r c7ri r)f fertilizer.

a !,%ce Of in-oniatlon co, tainted in a r r 7 r 4- 4 14 70 : 1:;Oustr i s ,ii e d in
u., of fertilizer

t o% t i.n. tri f r t i 3, i r i, J, i S t 7;, T. (I'r 0 C 0 S't of

Table 1.- Plants vinufactvuin;g fertilizer, larnts included in survey, fertilizer
conscun io, arnd touirage included in survey, Ly geo raphic divisions of
the Uni ed States, 1937

S : Plants included : :Tonna e included in
ill survey : : sarve':Total : :Fertilizer percentagee
Seograp1hic division :plants: Total:Percentage consumptionn: Total : of total : I/ : : of total : : consump tion
: : pl nts : : : 2

:Lumber :Number: Pcrcet : 1,000 : 1,000 : Percent : : : : tons : tons :
North Atlantic : :
(1:ew England States, : : : : : :
K. Y., IT. J., Ps.)...: 110 : 57 : 52 : 1,157 588 : 51
4 4 :
East North Central :
(Ohio, Ind., Ill., : : : :
Mich., Wise.) .......: 70 : 41 : 59 : 870 : 674 : 79

West North Central :
(Minn., Iowa, Mo., : : :
N. D., S. D., eb., :
Kans.) ..............: 9 : 6 : 67 : 119 : 7 : 6
4 .
South Atlantic ::
(Del., Md., Va., : : : :
N. C., S. C., C : :
Fla.) ...............: 505 : 208 : 41 : 4,181 : 2,566 : 61

South Central :
(Ky., Tenn., Miss., : : : :
Ark., La., Tex.) ....: 145: 55: 38 : 1,535 : 650: 42

Western : : : : : :
(Mont., Idaho, Wyo., : : .
Colo., N. M., Ariz., : : :
Utah, Nev., Wash., : :
Oreg., Calif.) ......: 81 : 42 : 52 : 296 : 133 : 45

United States .......: 920 : 409 : 44 : 8,158 : 4.619 : 57
I Including 7 concentrated su-orphospihate plants operated commercially.
2 Tonnage included in survey is grouped according to place of manufacture, whereas total consumption of fertilizer is grouped according to place of consumption. As some areas produce more than they consume, the two are not strictly comparable. Put the bag-use characteristics indicated by manufacturers in a
given district should also be representative of the fertilizer consumed in that
area, as three-fourths of the fertilizer tonnage is consumed within 150 miles
of its point of production.

ZT 2--",'.L-)' I HE "L'I L I a:, *'P I i'7 U S!'FY

r*'1'j be de-'Lr,. d 1 rc-lal-, es -iny nat3ri al which, if aade;! to the so il will ri- 0--11 t in t "I -,ro 7th cf cror s, Only comT.,arci, ,l fGrtilizero, or ',-ere Liclu('ed in t.lis. stiltil."r.

-Uthol-ii-h a:--ii::,0. bon, s, -v-d ot.Li,: r T.!,-ti-;!1i -Js h7.ve been mixed
v "h Lhe soil Fro-1 t:- e ,rl esl tiriec, "i-ir -xtei,-.4
r L, -1 "1, ivc uE*o has k2corio e -tablished. onlv clurir- the. 1,! 1012 ye, ,rq- I i cz-d sr its, which cont,- in pl n--'.-food eleT-.-nts, ,-,ere not a-j, 0 C:7 1 ," r -s Eener,I I S -- 'r 6 i 7 e +.' ',), 7 Z,-L i .rmoi al
until -,,,bout 50 yer -s z-- Fo 31.

commercial f,3rtilizer iidi7Lstry of todn y riz.jy be, srid to have had its
Wi I
th th s t ---i,-,,.ruf ) c t" 1' 0 0 1 su"') U r-)110 -.T,)h nt e, i n in 18, 3. 1:3urer--tt-, whicn is nori -L 3 T--io-t oxt Dnsive y L 9 S nad
1 used fertilizer nateri -.l
bl r rho,:,-Qhf-.te rock acid so as to make the phosphor.-Ls conL, : nt a I L rL
.L. 4, avnilribli to pl ,rts. Ira-oo i o n o f Chi 1 e an s C ii ri i t t o,
111-0 thr: n,- f ei, ti 11 7-er i Ft uri (Ld, -,bout the srarae tiT1-- and the f ir sz uso
)f -otri i third basic occurred -cut 1875. 1 r. e United
-ertili-crs e a f -i r e d -, o i i t 13 0 -Py 185
5' Ll -1 _U -JO to.-,s; L)y 18C' to 550, C,)0 to,- s. The rapid
ed, ',,,creased to ",)', 10 1)
iroi7r,, sz of th.-, fertilizer indast---Y thtl --eafte-- ij by tl-l-le 2.

2.- Fertilcon-su-11V-tion ir 'he Unit ct Strt,?: for s -,',cified Yn.rs fron.
110 11,337

Yer .r C o 'U i 0). Cori 'rtion
---- - - - - - -- - - - - - -
0 00 1,000 tons

........ 1931 ...... C" 30 6
....... 30 1932 3 3
....... 200 1 1933 40871
....... 4-54- .... 13, 54R
........ 7,177 .....

";iiT'1i-lnry. 3 1 t i Y 1 I i k" T. 17.

-o-Aoml oc. fro-i roiort.-, of the Fer---ticn.

about 3:3 of t1lo
r in tile, Unitcd St!itc c-onsi-sts Of thkj d-Lro t
0'' f fcrti' i2,(2- n-itori,-Js suoh rs ouper tl().J0" 'l In P
pota-- h The. ,o r:1,Ltc Ili nl s r
r*( 'rtj"'L':-,, ir soui

0i 1_ ond :-ion, Y,,,ar-r t,,j o i tn i lturc,

sometimes packaged in bags at the source of supply and are sometimes handled in bulk until bagged by local fertilizer manufacturers or handlers. Potash salts, for example, are usually handled in bulk until packaged by the local manufacturers; but a small proportion is bagged at the source of supply, both here and in Europe. Another material, Chilean sodium nitrate, is usually imported in bulk and bagged at the port of ertry, more than 93 percent bein- bgged by the importing agency. Other fertilizers, such as calcium cyanamide, are recessarily bagged by the producers because of certain characteristics of the product, such as hygroscopic qualities or fineness of grain.

Mixed fertilizers are made by mixing suitable fertilizer materials in the right proportions to give the desired grade or analysis fonrmula. In the smaller Plants, the materials are manipulated with simple implements for hand lCaor, like wheelbarrows, portable screens, and small mixing machines. In the larger plants, the equipment consists of bins for holding materials and Tixtares; electrically operated shovels, cars, and elevators for excavating the fertilizers and transporting them from place to place; mechanically driven crashing, grinding, screening, ammioniating, and mixing equipment; and automatic machines for weighing the fertilizer, sewing the bags into which it is weighed, and loading the bags into freight cars 5/. In both t-pes of plants, the materials used are generally received and handle 1 in bulk up to the final preparation for the consumer.

In mixed-fertilizer plants, it is a common practice to prepare and keep in stock what is called dry base goods. This consists of a mixture of superphosphate and anmonium sulphate with or without other materials such as potash salts. The aminonium sulphate reacts with the superphosphate, and the mixture is allowed to stand for a time so that setting may occur. Whnen an order is received for a mixed fertilizer, the base goods are crushed, passed through a 5-mesh screen, mixed with a suitable proportion of other materials to give the desired grade, and finally placed in bags for shipment. Using, this procedure, it is not necessary to keep more than a small supply of bagged fertilizer on hand.

The remaining two-thirds of the fertilizer consumed consists of mixed
fertilizers or mixtures of two or more fertilizer materials. About 63 percent of the fertilizer used in this country consists of mixtures in which the three plant foods -- nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash -- are present, an'd an additional 4 percent contains two of them.

At present, 913 plants are manufacturing mixed fertilizers; 191 of those also produce suaperphosphate. Because of the bulkiness of their product and the varying plant-food requirements of the different sections, these plants are well distributed. throughout the consuming area. which is mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country (table 1). In addition, a large number of plants engaged in manufacturing such materials as ammonium sulphate, sodium nitrate, and potash salts, (or in processing animal and vegetable products) contribute their output wholly or in part to the fertilizer industry. Included in this group are the plants manufacturing concentrated or triple superphosphate, like the one operated by the Government at Mluscle Shoals.

Besides doestic production, considerable quantities of fertilizer materials are imported, including sodium nitrate from Chile and potash salts from Germany and France.
5_ See footnote 3, page 4.

T Y-7 S 7 Sj7,L
f_ .rtlizer products are
Peoirdless C):i' Cr anal, -is. J-r,! d and sold to 4-i.e ultinat 4n baFzz. f,- ,ct t a' f -tilizer
a -7 a r a, e, n" y r n,- 'h,-, t i r. s o n n (I i n rel at i v e 17 sm L-1 1
,, -.lied, aC bulk
L'.'_nti lies, has prcclued the d t o -i e, t') o 0. s for hand ng in
o' LI.Le averal,-e farn. .c have beer the chel-.'nest slaitatle -ack ;'r3 they have C t'-- t 7-r,? of contain. r -as('- d Lam'cst exclu-iv' Iy. A f,. w cartons, bo.-.es, -nd
n for sz eclaltr 1'(-, ho-.vever, rnd woode-,
r i t i in c i t 7 o t,- t o s e 3 ti o i i s c f 14, 11 c b-a t t i i c s e P. r u o Tn i n c r

"-_ ys, mo of tli,_ fertilizer bne ,s h,-,ve beer made of b-arl-7 p, Until
f, rt 4 ) i -ew excen tio i-. uFed only
b aJ- s f o r Lo -I i t h
11v or tempora-il und?r D'It follo-inc the
1,)wprices for cotton c,,f 7,926, 3 Tn-Lae of ,otton f *oric rci%? .it',oJh2.c0d con'? ily and 1--rive sinctD iiic erasedd o'e-ail- in uisa. ii-i the Southern

1'aper L.Iso bLo-j i,-,-IIro_-7 L'_ (' k_ '-S C -' -r, ie r s 'J( r fortilizer. kI
.07a I j, Zk 1n
x,, d f L 110'J lq ,,-s ( _i r, commercial sc-.-.Ic
'-d"Out mu2 'G -wall -xe rorort -,C. To hr.ve been in use for
fform,,-, of foL t'.I-, lr st 10 ycnrs -,nd for agricultural
lor th, la-t "70

!: f t- in 1027--, shored th, .t ar: roximctely
D3 If fortiliztr tcm.a,- ropoitod .-,.s in burlap -Iz-s : .nd
:D- at 2 per(-,-,nt cotl on ';y 19,77, rot ,or htC, ircrcn o(i to 12 r _rc nt of
I "'i- unre-port-0, in
tot,-'I' an,", h,-,d to 82 pon_. r
.1 17, 937
6 T-eircat lvh-. _;,oortcd tonn,, q,-e
:til4 "cd i,- b-ar' ap, cotton, and
3.- Trorortir--i ;pl f e: zur
p,%,per b,, in the Unitud ,tatos, Oivisions. 1 a
id 1, -7

1927-a3_,' 193"
v! C ottc-_ 12 t -.1 :Purlap Cotton *17ay v To t P-1

Pe r- c r T r-- 1' r- rct r ce 'It 0. *1 t

....... C 100
C t
(j, t r; 1, 1 . 101- Y I Qu
',t' D n t i r....... 100
;'3. 6: 1
7(3.:,: 100


'Yr IV!-, s

Table 4.- Total fertilizer oonsa-er d
aged in1 desgnated kle ofI b0, -4 v *I&i~ 2

State and geogii e i .1- oa
divi *ion to___ :

Now Jar is ...... ..... 70 .60 12 10

Pennsylyaria ,........... 00.. 5 1 20
Vt. N. E,, R. 1., ~J .. .....:

Indir 3.- :Xi,6 .........

ZaaNo~t~Gn~r .......... .. 92 2 0

Delawnare ......:.....7.... -23100
Maryland ......... 186. 3: 65: 10 :5 1 9 30
V1i''-1 i a ....... 4 ,4 74 : 5 : 10 :- : 10
Nretl- Garolin, ..............: 1, 36,6: 78 P C

Test V gi........... .. __Seth Atlantic ,........... : 4 10. 8: 70: 7-- : 14 6: __, 3: 1J
K entck t...... y... : 117.1 99: : 1 *10
Ten............. 141. 3. 5.1- : : 36 0

M~aisipi "'........ 353 4: ',

Lou I iaa ............ : 173 3 0 0
T*ox4, .......... ... : 8-t11 ::~ 0 6
Oklahoa .........
South Central ...... 1.5533 ~ ~ '3 71' 0

California....... 232.5: 16: 4 :2

Ute, Lriz., 's- U., Neva"V*: 28.: __Jntecn f ttt z9,: ,8':0

16/ Compiled frou reports of the Natio)ng.l ?artIli!,7r La~~~n ~/Carrying inside liners of paper or otheormaeil c'cds ewgan1anbas a!Inclufdes a few lined cotton bags iu cesrtaina States.jData 1-ot given in detail becoise of intiffl-'iint raor. Unldd n viOn f i gxres .
~/Includes a few paper oartouis snia.nit

Most of the birlap and cotton bags used in 1937 were new, unlined bags, at a substaxtial use was reported of second-hand bags and of bags carrying inside liners or bags of paper or gone other material. Nearly 13 percent of all b:rlap bags were lined, and nearly 9 percent were second-hand. Only 1 percent of the cotton bags were lined and 4 percent were second-hand. As information on these t-es of bags was not requested in the 1917-28 survey, no comparisons between thie periods can be made.

On the basis of the percentages given in table 3, it is estimated that more than 6,500,000 tons of fertilizer were packaged in burlap during 1937 in the Unitei States, about 1,100,000 tons in cotton, and 500,000 tons in paper 6/. These tonnages would require the use of 87 million burlap bags, 19 million cottonr. bags, anid 10 million pcper bags of all sizes if used in the proportions show by the survey (table 5).

Practices with respect to the types of fertilizer bags used varied considerrbly in different sections. In 1927-28, burlap bags were used predominantl; in all sections, only 13 percent of the total tonnage of fertilizer being bagged in cotton in the South Central States, where cotton bags were most extensively used. By 1937, cotton bags were used to package 56 percent of the fertilizer consumed in this area, with one State, Arkansas, reporting 93 percent.

Some increase in the use of cotton bags was indicated also for Georgia
2nd Virginia where fertilizer is used heavily. With the exception of the South COentral States, however, burlap remained the most important material for packaging fertilizer in all sections of the country. Paper bags had become an important factor in New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, and in some of the western States.

A considerable shift toward the use of smaller sizes of bags for packaging fertilizer occurred during the last decade. A decrease in the percentage of 200-pound bags used was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of 100pound and 125-pound bags. Nevertheless, 200-pound bags continued to be used mor than any other size, nearly twice as much tonnage being packaged in this size as in the 100-pound bag. Most of the tonnage packaged in cotton and paper, however was rut up in 100-pound boas (table 6).

Considerable variation is indicated in the sizes of bags used in differen sections, agra'ently due to different methods of handling fertilizer, to available suliis, rtnd to the re-use value of certain sizes to farmers. Eighty percent of thu. fertilizer tonnage produced in the South Atlantic States was package in -r)0-aound br, Th t very few bags of this size were used in most of the other
sections. UGo of the 125-pound bag was also largely regional, centering in the Ertst lorth o trial States. Elsewhere, 100-pound bzws were generally preferred ( ta:bli 7 ).

' Ialadin, only those fertilizer materials and mixed fertilizers that were
spliJd to the soil without further processing. Materials that later became
ir:relients in the manufacture of mixed goods are considered raw materials in
frtiliver irouction and are not so included.


T2P~be 5.- Erstinated fertilizortocsyaie in, 1rlaor, cotton, and -aper bafs,
and nu-,iber of bap-s re ji:ed, Unite4l Sitae, 1937

E t i2td Ectimate-d number of ba-s
Kind of bar, o w required 21

t on S bac:L
Unlined$ new ....... .(865)358
Unlined., secnlid-h'annd. 60 1 3, 975
Lined i, flew 8 8II9 11,589
Total burlap ...... 189"

UnIlined, new..............1,(7 17, 9-33
Unlined, secon%--hand 5 6
Lined 3/, new ............_ 33
Total, Cotton .......i 14' 7_ 19030

Total.............................,153 116,269

2,J Does nct includLe 4,1,173 tons (-f trille superphosphate bagged by the Tennessee
Vale k)tho-1ity. This tonnage was packaged in ne-i 1-00-pound basL5 e n
burlap and 45 percent cotton.
2/ B ased on sizes and prop or Tio-ns reported in survey. J3 Carrying inside liner of 1pcper or oth,,r mntorial.

Table 6.- Proportion of total fertilizer ton:;age packaged in specified sizes of
-burlap, cotton, and paper ba qs; Unitedl StF-.tes, l9,2-?28 and 1937
- -- -- -- ------------------------------- - ---------- ----- -- -- -- -Si- of ba - 1927i-28 1937
(lbs. carr 4e d') Burl1ap Cotton: 11pp er To tal :3 url1ap :Cotton: T-cp e r :Total

rer- : er- : Per :Per- Fe2- : er~- :?r- F Perce-nt :cent : nt:cert :cent :cent :cernt cent

200 :68.8 0,6 ::69.1 430.6 : 4.4 : 48.0
167 Q .6 : 2! 7.2
125 17.4 .1 : L 7.5 : 17.4 -I 7: 2 : 13.1
100 11.6 : 'O 1, 1/. : 2 1 3,5 6 .6 C- 5.7 :2.5.8
Other __.2.-.1 : 1/ .3: .7 .1: .1: .9

All size-,_ 97. 6 .41 LI_ 10)0.0 82.4 :11 8: 5.6 100. C
LINo inform-ation tv -,il1ablIe bout p rob a oly only a neg lig-ible amount wa3 u~ed. 2J Less than 0.05 percent.


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co D U) :c
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w z (0 0


:ible 7.- Proportion of totl fertilizer tonnage packaged in specified sizes of
bags, by geographic divisions, United States, 1937

:-Size of bag_(pounds carried
Jeogr aphic division 200 167 125 100 Other Total

: Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent

northh AtI tic....... 3 20 20 52 5 100
East 2o ,e..trotl ...: 1/ i 85 14 1 100
? st 1"1 Central ...: 33 62 5 100
Sout tic .......: 80 8 2 10 100
South ....... : 24 15 61 100
Western ............. .. 99 1 100

United Sttaes ...... 48 7 18 26 1 _100
SLess th-an 0.5 percent.


It is estimated that about 18 million new cotton bags were used for packaging fertilizer in 1937. Nearly three-fourths of these were of 100-pound capacity, and the remainder were largely of 125-pound and 200-pound capacity. No new 167-pound cotton bags were reported, but a small number of cotton bags of 50-pound or less cap.rcity were used. In addition, it was estimated that approximately 762,000 second-hand cotton bags were used (table 8).

Table 8.- Entimated fertilizer tonnage packaged in cotton and number of cotton
begs used, United States, 1937
--- -- -- ------------------------------- -- -- -- -: Tonnage :: -Bas used
Size of b ~s Unlined :Lined 1:: Unlined : Lined-l
poundss carried) : Uw : Scoid- : New :: ew : Second- : New S* hand :: : hand :
1: 1, :000 ,)0 : 1,000 :: 1,000 : 1,000 : 1,000
: tons : tons : tons :: begs : bags : as
', : 375 : 2/ : :: 3,752 : 3
1 7 : : 3 : :: : 35 :
70 : : :: 1,114 : :
: 651 : 3b : 8 : : 13,021 : 704 : 165
: 1 : 1 : 2 :: 30 : 20 : 61
S: '..0 / : 2 : 1 : 16 : : 109

Sl : 1,097 : 39 : 11 :: 17 933 : 762 : 335
t inider i,. r f p.o:er or othor material.

'V :i to Rvaw;rau 2L ounds in estimrting bag- used.


Practically all cotton bags used for fertilizer are made from osnaburg,
which is one of the coarsest plain-woven cotton materials commercially available. The typical 100-pound cotton fertilizer bag, for example, is made from osnaburg that is 36 inches wide, averaging 2.85 linear yards to the pound. This material is cut into pieces 39 inches long, which are folded and sewed with cotton twine to form the completed bag. Other sizes of bags are made similarly with varying specifications (table 9). Osnaburgs used for this purpose are estimated to constitute roughly 10 percent of the total production of osnaburg.

Table 9.- Standard dimensions of cotton fertilizer-bags and kind and amount of
osnaburg required, United States, 1937

Osnaburg used.
Bag capacity : Width : Linear yards. : Cut : Osnaburg required for
p pounds carried)_ : -to nd size _ ._000bagsI
: Inches: Yards : Inches : Square : Pounds

200 : 40 : 2.05 : 52 : 1,605 : 704
125 : 36 : 2.85 : 42 : 1,167 : 409
100 : 36 : - 2.85 : 39 : 1,083 : 380

The osnaburg fabric used in manufacturing these bags is usually woven from cotton yarns spun from mixtures of comparatively low-grade, short-staple cotton and cotton waste. Incomplete reports from the cotton-textile industry indicate
that the relative proportion of each of these materias used varies considerably, some kinds of osnaburg being manufactured from raw cotton principally, and others containing only cotton waste. In general, however, yarns used in osnaburgs for fertilizer bags contain both materials in about equal quantities.

On the basis of specifications shovn in table 9, it is estimated that nearly 22 million square yards of osnaburg, weighing approximately 8 million
pounds, were used in the form of cotton fertilizer bags during 1937. Allowing 14 percent for waste in the manufacturing process and 5 percent for non-cotton content, it may be concluded that about 19,000 bales (478 pounds net) of raw cotton and cotton waste were used in the manufacture of this material (table 10).

In addition to fabric, it is estimated that approximately 94,000 pounds
of cotton sewing twine were required to sew and close the cotton fertilizer bags
used in 1937. Allowing for 15 percent waste in manufacture, this quantity of twine would require the utilization of approximately 232 bales of raw cotton and cotton waste. As cotton twine is also used for sewing barlap fertilizer bags, an additional 318,000 pounds of twine, representing 782 bales of cotton, would also have been used. This is exclusive of a considerable quantity of cotton twine used in closing these bags.


Table 10.- Estimated number of new cotton fertilizer bags used in the United
States in 1937, and approximate fabric and cotton equivalents

: New bags : : Equivalent raw cotSize of bag : used : Equivalent fabric : ton and cotton waste
(pounds carried) : / : 2/ : 3/

: Thousands : 1,000 : 1,000 : Bales
: :Square yards: Pounds :

200 : 3,752 : 6,022 : 2,643 : 6,137
125 : 1,113 : 1,300 : 456 : 1,059
100 : 13,186 : 14,280 : 5,011 : 11,635
50 : 91 : 71 : 20: 47
Less thnn 50 4/ : 126 : 54 : 11 : 25

Total : 18,268 : 21,727 : 8,141 : 18903
1 Based on tonnage estimates derived from survey. Includes lined bags. 2/ Using dimensions and fabric weights given in table 9 for 100-, 125-, and 200pound sizes, and the following for the smaller sizes:
50-pound bag, 36-inch, 3.50 yard osnaburg, cut 28 inches.
25-pound bag, 40-inch, 5.00 yard sheeting (split), cut 31 inches. 3j Allowing 14 percent for waste in manufacture of osnaburgs and sheeting and a
non-cotton content of 5 percent of the weight of the cotton.
(Pounds fabric x 1.11 = Bales)
4/ Averaging 25 pounds.


Burlp bags.- Although the use of cotton bags has increased considerably, burlap has always been used for packaging fertilizer to a far greater extent than any other type of bag. Fertilizer manufacturers and users have grown accustomed to it and have developed the particular methods of handling that are best adapted to it. When other types of bags are used for the first time by manufacturers, they are sometimes at a disadvantage in comparison until new handling techniques have been developed.

By far the greatest number of burlap bags are made of a 10-ounce burlap construction, which is a fabric weighing 10 ounces per linear yard of material 40 inches in width. This weight of material is used for all common sizes. Burlaps weighin 9 ounces, 10-1/2 ounces, and 11 ounces per linear yard of 40-inch width material are also used to some extent. In the aggregate, it is roughly estimratd that 100 million linear yards of all constructions are used in burlap fertilizer as in a year like 1937. This yardage is equivalent to approximately 12 percent of the total estimated consumption of burlap in the United States.

M ore thnn half of the fertilizer tonnage packaged in burlap during 1937 was put ur. in 200-pound bnes. Considerable numbers of 125-pound and 100-pound Vrarig bLas were also used. In addition to new unlined bags, there was an ext:*.iVe m, or both second-hand burlap ba% s and burlap bags carrying inside
1 .r:: of arper or othur materials (table 11).


Table 11.- Estimated fertilizer tonnage packaged in burlap and number of burlap
bags used, United States, 1937

: Tonna e : Bas__ used
Size of bags : e
(pounds carried) : Unlined. Lined 1i]. Unlined Lined 1
: : S-cond- : : Second- :
: New handNew ew : ewhand ew ew and : New
: ,000 : ,000 : 01,000 000 000 1:000 : 1,000 : 1,000 : tons : tons : tons : babs : : b

200 : 2,601 : 226 : 536 : 263,010 2,259 : 5,362
167 508 : 69: 3 :6,095: 825 : 35
125 : 1.214 : 16 : 13 : 19,432 2 9 : 212
100 : 662 : 254 : 346 : 13,233 5.079 : 6,926
50 : 4: 2 : 1 : 163 12 : 18
Less than 50 3 : 3 : : 1 198 : 1 : 36
Odd sizes / : 16 : 39 : : 227: 550

Total : 5,008 : 604 : 900 : 65,358 : 8,975 : 12,589
/ Bags lined in ide _/ Assumed to average 25 pounds in estimating bags used. 4_ More than 50 pounds.

Burlap bags have been used so much chiefly because they are suitable containers that have been available at a price usually considerably below that of other types of bags. especially in the larger sizes. They are usually strong, particularly in resistance to tearing, but they are not so attractive in appearance as cotton bags, nor do they generally have as high a salvage value.

aper bags.- 'aper bags are increasingly more important in the fertilizer field, although only a small percentage of the fertilizer tonnage is as yet packaged in them. So far, they seem to have offered little competition to cotton
bags, as they are used chiefly in certain northern sections where cotton is litti used. They are almost unknown in those sections of the South where cotton bags
are important.

rapeer fertilizer bags are manufactured from natural kraft raper and usually consist of from 1 to 4 walls or plies. There are two types, valve and openmouth, ra_.:ing in capacity from 125 pounds dov wnward. Open-mouth bags are available for closing by either sewing or pasting. Recent imrovements in the method of filling both types have increased the use of these kinds -f bags.

Pager bags possess the advantages of being attractive, affording protection against sifting, and being easy to empty. They have tne disadvantage of being more easil- broken than fabric bas and they are not availalble in the larger sizes. They sell at a price considerably below that of burlp or cotton bags cf the same si ze, but they have comparatively little salvage value and so it is doubtful whether they have any ultimate advantage in net cost.

_a- Z -inated fertilizer tonnfv_ e -pac .a:7ed in paT.er ber
12.- st L I ]j an i num
of -.q.per bp.,E;s used, 'LTnited States, 1237
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Si ze of bags
(pounds carried) TonnpCe 1 ag s u s,: d
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1,30C tons bags

125 1 13
10 J 4 8 CD 9, 774
50 2 lCIC
-ess +ha:- 5 0 J2 4
S-zes 4 P-3
500 10 -,so,
.c ,L -- - - - - - - -
57,000 I:a7e- containers other than ba ,s, such as cartons en 11 canisters, are esti-ioted to Iiave been us, J_ All were of
less than 5C-rcunds capacity.
2 As sumed to ave::-3-n,,e 25 -oo=Is in estirinatin- b7j-Z --, ced.
3,/ 4 _Iore thni-i 50

ba&.-.- I el-xl,, OC'0,000 tons of fertilizer, mere than 7 -rercent of t1ne totnl cong,-un,-tion, wei-e in seccrd--ha,;id br _-s in 1937. These b,7gs Yere llsei chief.Ly in tl.e se -, i cca-.d areas, t.,,-e largest proportionate number on the
_ ac --ic -oast. qu,- kntitat-_Lve evidence is available relative to tho trends in "he -ase of oecr ,nd -hand- b-, -s. b,_,t limited infr)rm,"tion -I.ndicates that arrroxinately has ',----n :L:ro2. y,?,-r to ,,,ear.

'h --tvPI-lability of secc2-d-hanC_ b -gs is evide-_-itly rath, r import, --t in
1 7 + e gs used in a section. !'I there it a large
tj;-,e of bE-,-i som -a o f t1le -port areas, t,-here will be a lpxge use of this tyye of 'lizer with use of now ba -s. The MLmber of
-or _i cons,,: quent di..iinished
Kind depends of course, on t1ie relativ,- I-rices of the t=, W-Ith clue
F__ for the va-erinrity in strenc-th and -- ,-,-ar-nce of the new lbnz --nd the
ev!.L- at-ion of these qualities by fertilizer rurchasers.

al-I of t'-.-, second-hLnd used in 1937 were made or burl,-V.
-v .I o -a ly uscd for a variety of purposes, de-rendin6 on the
-1- -:.t r -CC'--cund inside burglar coffee bn-s v7erc
At.L U _- I,
VC, 1,0 -un nr r- -- r b,Vrs o-L n Z I I t T, _d burl, i.. va
flour in t.-,, North ;tl,,Lnti(, re--ortc n
userl rere av-Ulabl, t 1 o (, n-I
Z -,- f r.. t r-, -athered by b _- doal e r s,
LI I o beini, offered to the
n1_1 t ,r -J rcd, d b,-, d r
n whi ch t s hr-d n received by
X t':1 t f rti i 7c r. Serne fertir t i c e
re". t u t thi s rr,
r rS ai
r, T. r"'d as threo, four, or


The great advantage of second-hend tas is their comrarativel-r low cost.
Dealers report that they are priced 25 to 50 percent below the price of new tags, depending on type, condition, locality, ard otner factors. Some of the better grade second-hand bags can be printed ith the name and brad of the manufacturer but, in general, they may be said to be not so suitable in aprperanrce as new bags. One or two fertilizer ran.facturers reported that some second-hand bags, made from heavier fabrics than those generally used, nre stronger, and have a higher salvage value than some new bags, but this is also an exception to the rule.

Estimated percentages of the total fertilizer tonn ge packaged in secondhand bags in the different sections in 1937 are as follows: 7/

Section Percer t

North Atlantic ................ 10
East North Central ............. 8/
West North Central ............
South Atlantic .................. 7
Sou West rn ........................ 45
United States ................ ?

Special tes of bags.- !Many types of fertilizer are of such a nature
chemically and physicall, that to find a suitable container for them has constituted a real problem for both the fertilizer and the bag industries. Some fertilizer products :re deliquescet, ard so nust be protected against moisture. Others are powdered so fine that special precautions must be tLken against sifting. Still others contain free acid that deteriorates bags. These difficulties have been met, in part by changing the nature of the product and in part by devising special containers.

To combat the free acid sometimes found in superphosphate a(nd other products, bags are often sprinKled inside with ground limestone, or are treated with a solution of sodium silicate, paraffin, or some similar substance 9/. In addition, bags that are lined with asphalt-impregnated paper sheets were developed for this purpose about 20 years ago ard are now used extensively. This type of bag is generally known as the "T.P.P.L. or water-proof paper-lined bag, and is also used extensively for products that require protection against moist-are such as Chilean nitrate of soda.

To prevent siftig ard dusting out of some fertilizer products, "looselined" bags containing a paper bag inserted inside the fabric outer bags have been employed.

7/ Two of the three fertilizer manufacturers in Iuerto Rico report that 99 percent of their tonnage was bagged in second-hand bags in 1937 -- 79 percent in 200pound burlap bags, 21 percent in 100-pound bags. 8/ Less than 0.5 percent.
9 Collings, Gilbeart H. Commercial fertilizers: Their sources and use. p. 166. ?hiladelphia, P. Blakiston's Son and Co., Inc. 1934.

AC c 0 I'd to tle 0xp-C)xj,!ratel,,7 10 re-, ceilt of the fertilizer
conslimed in Cie -L--, Sta"Ies dating 193Y was pack-.. ;eJI in fr.ibric bags of these
e s. rl' t7icse we e of li?.rlap ri s al
con ;tinictlions, PIthouph
n,,::7 b-_-r Of cot-Gon _C,-.t-_s viere -!-ero-2 tcd.. 111iero 7-!1-Ls some use of rrpe-_ bags
r -a- ryi n, -1a t a 7 re no t r es-ecir-1 iincrz, 'L S '.i v
porteJ. se-a: -atel-r Li tne survey
iu!ncer is not kfxo,

Ijimited 'U1-1a'U- 71ip uf,,c of specially lined- b,,,., s In the
4 1.- "izer indus-ry b 3en in -ieceilt yearo. -- -. i -- -.ae
Ilrorcvem,: 3 in
a; i c1loiiical wualit-.es oJ7 -v --,q2 ertfi rodu-ts ha-,,e "teon made,
c, elim-nate the n(: od for E ivun by 0.1 e 's e I i n i Onc 4 s t"
r,,_ c t i c e o f t r c a -u in !, r ,a 124x':-aes N-,ith a
-1. 1, 11 C1, e,!e 1 cv ie r. t of receyit y3-ixs,. v7hich is roj ortec_ ito Lt!v ,e t,rJa11ly reduced '11-le of fe-:tilizer

F.A.CTORS I1TL=1 C11jG TIE UTj OF COTT I. F"E7T!LL.,7T7 73-,"S

for 7e"tilizer ig,Trc extent, of the rar:_-ot fo- cotton 1ertilil-er b,v7s -13 dateri iir_. d hy the
de=, _nd for f',-.-rtiiLzer o2 -L.1 -*0,-,,7p,,c afd bz r thc coi_-rDct1_ 1-ive relation' etween cozto i fertilizer ba 7-s o'llh r k* --,,]. z of cont,%L-.: rr, IkJ_- t may be uscd to
fill 1-s p r ac t i cal 1 y l 1 t i 11 zo r i a t1io number
re qu _J r o d 'by t",W r t I i z e r r f U-r,)Jn 'a t 0-,11iD Of f rt- Cr am
facturell -- if 1I., _x cizes cf ar, overlooked. Fp.rt-ors influencing
the use of factors dete-_-.mirlr .7 r2mbor of fortilizer tv,-7 -as,,--' 3,V 0 1' i d Of tiTll, thO T.1OSt '1r.,Ycrt,-)nt of these are
ti- e p 1 --n t- f o o d d C I ni i-n the soils and th,,: tt--_hno' develoments th .t ml-ke 1, Of tho- a -pln -A foods throu, .:',l application of cherIi c,-,1 1 1 Z At present, 65 j_-,erc-:n*- o'47 ril-1 tlie fcrtil izer con-in the Unit- es is used li)y Statos c-1 the AtlL t s _,bo,%rd where farmA
tivc-ly "I on peri cd. on the oth r hand, the h-ts becn cni-fi(d (,n ovor a rcl, ar
c f f r IQ i 1 i z e r i n m n, r S t c s rc f t h o M d d 1, ,, W s t i s a s yo n c- 1 ble. But
il -T(- -Jly inc.rer sing in this arora, it tc-nds to rcm,,i*n nore const;rnt
:, -,stern

nt_ r inror, f, actor in i-!- i the toto.]. domen for fei,1-1lii-r bVs
sin c-)ncuntratic-n o-' U 'ertflizees. Except in 1 1 7, the
i, s t of f( r ili7,or -jr since 19,31 h,.3,s bc-en loL;s thrtr, that
contc-1113 or ooncentratior. ol:' fortili7.,, : r h,-J vapid'r, ect a con!,1 1935 t1i-n in 11j')0. In f
L k, c ro .1,, u d i thr. t y t,.r qu,', ( t] ":,r Of -31- T I n.n"- f oc)d is the r fo S, 0 17
t rr i:xrta-o in tior.

it i,; t! tc-,C1. -i y to ircr( ,-iso the conc,,,,,tratior_ of
r -it t'I-,s cl----n e will be
IL n e,:tvin th,
mieo, in n costs
'r)771 coi.(. t or:7 It
J V, i n ij n i N,
A. T,. 1, t j. 11 (j i- c- In -oils -InJ m_ n, Yetzbook
T3r-*, tr (l S 11 t o f A,, 'I m 11 u r c


In summary, it might be said: that the future volume of fertilizer distribution is very difficult to predict but that, barring rather far reaching developments one way or the other, it would seem reasonable to expect a slow but fairly constant upward trend in tonnage of plant foods applied to American farms lj.

Over a shorter period of time, the quantity of fertilizer used is determined primarily by economic as distinguished from agronomic considerations. The importance of this set of factors is illustrated in the decrease in the quantity of fertilizer used, and consequently in the number of bags required, from more than 8 million tons in 1930 to less than 4.5 million tons in 1932 (table 2). Sach year-to-year fluctuations are influenced considerably by such factors as the income from last year's crops, present price prospects for crops,. crop conditions, and prices for fertilizers. Statistical indices of farm income are probably the best available single indicator of the demand for fertilizer and of the farmer's ability to buy it.

Comparative Cost of Cotton and Other Bags

The comparative cost to the user is one of the most important factors in
determining the relative number of fertilizer containers that will be made of burlap, cotton, paper, or some other material. This cost of containers is determined mainly by the cost of the fabric or material of which the bags are constructed, -which usually comprises about 85 percent of the sales price. Costs of cutting, sewing, shipping, etc., take up the remainder, the handling margin being comparatively smnll because of the large quantities in which fertilizer bags are handl e d.

Regardless of type, thie cost of the bag is hardly ever more than a small
fraction of the sales price of the fertilizer which it packages. This cost range between approximately 3 and 5 percent of the average price of fertilizer in March 1938, when fertilizer shipments fo. the year were at their peak (table 13).

Use of special types of bags, such as water-proof paper-lined bags, resulted in costs somewhat higher than the quotations given. On the contrary,
second-hand bags cost less. In March 1937, when prices of cotton bags were comparatively high, the percentage of the fertilizer-sales price represented by the cost of cotton bags was 8.5 percent.

Cotton-bag fabric is usually the most expensive material used in fertilizer-bag construction, but it is subject to greater price fluctuations than is burlap and is occasionally priced near or even below the cost of burlap. At such times, the use of cotton fertilizer bags has been particularly favored. For example, in 1926 osnaburg prices approached closely the prevailing burlap prices for a few months, and thus the first successful commercial introduction of cotton fertilizer bags was made possible. By the fall of 1927, however, osnaburg constructions used in fertilizer bags were again priced considerably higher than the corresponding jute fabrics. Despite this fact, cotton bags continued to be used, because of the farmers' preference for them. In 1931-32 and in 1937, the margin between cotton and 'burlap prices again narrowed, giving a strong stimulus toward l1j O'Donnel, A. F. The fertilizer industry study. p. 176. U. S. National Recovery Administration. Division of Review. Work materials No. 63. Washington, D. C., 1936. (Processed.)


the use of cotton bags. As most of the bags used during 1937 were bought before
the decline in cotton prices, the increase in cotton bags used becaLse of this last price change is not definitely known. However, several fertilizer manufacturers reported that they were using a greater number of cotton bags in 1938 than in 1937. Prices in force during the latter part of 1938 continued to be favorable for increased use of cotton fertilizer bags (fig. 3).

Table 13.- Cost of bags required for packaging 1 ton of fertilizer, March 1938

Bag cost as percentage of
Kind of bag used : Cost of bags 1/ fertilizer prices
: fertilizer prices 2/

: Dollars Percent

100-pound cotton 1.40 5.2
100-pound burlap 1.20 4.5
100-pound paper .90 3.2
200-pound cotton 1.22 4.5
200-pound burlap .88 3.2
l Based on quotations of bag manufactu rers for ca load lots delivered in southeastern States.
2/ Based on average retail price for fertilizer during March 1938 of $26.85,
representative of prices paid by consumers in all sections of the country.
From reports of the National Fertilizer Association.

Of particular interest in a study of prices of fertilizer bags is the fact that although as heavy a burlap fabric is used for the 100-pound bag as for the 200-pound bag, an osnaburg that is considerably lighter and cheaper is used in the 100-pound than in the 200-pound bag. Weights of fabrics commonly used in these bags, expressed per linear yard of 40-inch width, are as follows:

200-pound burlap bags ............ 10.0 oz.
100-pound burlap bags, ........... 10.0 oz.
200-pound cotton osnaburg bags ... 7.8 oz. 100-pound cotton osnaburg bags ... 6.2 oz.

As the lighter fabric is lower priced, cotton bags of the smaller capacity are priced more competitively with burlap than are those of the larger capacity.
This is probably one of the reasons why cotton bags are more extensively used in
thoo sections of the South where 100-pound bags are customary than in areas where the 200-pound bag is the usuaal package.

Cotton beds of all sizes have less of a disadvantage in price than is
indicated by fabric quotations, because of certain qualities of the cotton materil. inrce the cotton fabric used is more closely woven, seams in cotton bas are ade narrower than those in burlap bags. Since cotton fabric has a greater tenency to stretch, thu ba dimensions required for holding a given quantity of fertilizer ar smaller than for burlap. Because of these factors, cotton bags hav rait size 2 inches shorter for the 200-pound size and 1 inch shorter for tr i ..' p-;crIc :iz than have burlap bas.


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Cotton ba-s also possess an advantag-e from the standpoint of shipping co~sts-, hec use they are lighlter in weight: 00-pound cotton fertilizer bacs w,;ciTh 771S pounds per thousand as compared with 945 pounds for burlap bags of the sa:me size; 100-pound cotton fertilizer bags weigh 380 pounds per thousand as cornrrdwith 630 rounds for burlap bags.

Fertilizer m-,anufacturers in some sections of the country charge extra if
their pro duct is put up in cotton bags; in other sections th 'ey do not. Along the South Atlanti(c coast -- in ?reorgia, South Carolina, and adjoining, States -- an xtra char,7e avera7ginc7 50 cents per ton was made for fertilizer bagg-ed in cotton lurinoc the sr-in,- of 193a. This charge closely approximated the additional cost of Cotton ba,- at the time, since 200-pound cotton bags were Priced approximately 41 cents more each than burlap bags, at that time. In Texas, Louisiana, and 14ississirri, most of the manufacturers reported no additional c1-arge for using cotton bans, perhaps b ec ause the 1001-pound bags used in this section were priced only abo-ut 1 cent hic~-er each than the same size of burlap bag.

Cotton 1,,a s =, that IFarnmers much "-ttention to that when bu~ring fertilizer. When a preference for Cottcn bt- sK -.. -, it is probably based chiefly on the salvag-e value of the
bsos after th a. re r, -tied. Available information indicates that cotton basare Put to L ,-ritv :a f usos on the facm and in the household and generally have a higher r seod>dvelue than burlap. In some sections, considerable numbers of
sec- nd -hand fe-,rtilizer han',,s are used for p-ackaging grains and other farm products; but this is not so true of th-e Cotton T-'lt, Dhr otnfriie asaepi
m.-1rily used. T'-- factor of se~ntiment -- the desire to use Es much cotton as economically possible -- is a f ctor of note.

FertilizervL-nufacturersl Opinion ofCotton Pii-s

e rdes- of cost, a container must be regarded as saltisfaictory in some dres:ree 1.,"--e it will be used at all. Moreover, if it is priced competitively
,v4otr co7nta,_ners, th,- ext : nt of its use will be determined in considerable
a re b% t h o Ti icn o f 3 u s ers. There fore wih espect to the suitability
"VIize ta a' o 'ctn, theL.re -rise questions such -s: W ','at is the
a fft s sm tur _-ro in r -,;ard to cotton b -s'? Pc, they regard them
iro-io to 7hr tew ) f bars *xd, if so, in wha t r iw~ts? If
~ctor f cost w-r lt~tu hich typc of bng would fertilizer in,-nufacU-- k~lyto use

asrsto th se- i~i.st ions, fkrtilizor manfcturers were asked tr ; 'r, ich V of _7a. tYhy con.-id, ,red "b. ad:aptwd phJ-ysically for handling
% a IV. a cr ;skcito d- wto their choice tr eaebof, thr- s-izes of
1'-~ >-y si 1, -p u nd anl 20-pund capc it ies.

AtJ'1iu1' t i n (-4*th returns r, v -1.- that al thouij'h cotton 1-1.%, wore gneralf ,mf 1: r t 2-ou ak ,ura ha7ac ref.re by most mzinufaoYau~ ~ 20~p~l1 pck'u' In en ~rlthe proport ion pro-rr ~<-~ i a ty' br:! to th ,rrporti i .otualily using, it. For
I-' r'4 r t of t 11 M,' uffturt;rs thouvfht tl,-t th_ cot ton ba, ,m the bes;t
~e, ci~ re ntof' ti, !(0,(-pound bg actuallly used ,%ere ma,,do of
? ayV;r- eit of' th incanuf tu'!,r(,.rs pr-lferred cotton for the 100- rr( ,i-~-it a f' tc b 1' ; of t is s ~izt u:sed vwero made'. o-f cotton.


Cotton bngs were most generally preferred in the South Celitral and 6outh Atlantic .3tates; they were preferred by the s~raallest proportion of manufacturers in the North Atlantic States (table 14);

Tible 14.- Proportion of fertilizer ma.nufacturers in. the United states re-arding
burlap, cotton, or paper bas ao best adapted physically for handling
fertill.zer, by geo,,-raphic divisions, 1938

25-pm.und package 1 0O-piund raokago 20,0-pound packa,,e
diiio Iurcp: Cotton: Paper: Burlur, "ottor.: P a re B urlap :Cotton
e-P1' r er- : -eri : Per- : Per- Percent ceitt : cent :cent :cen- cerpt c c.n t :cent

North Atlentic ........33 : 33 33 : 54 3? : 7 11
East North CentrJ-..: 20 53 : 27 : 70 : 20 : 10 : 100 :
West North Ce'fi:~ : 2/: 2/: ~: 2: 2: 2
South Atl,,iitjc ...: 22 :i4 : 34 : 60': 30 : 4 8 12
3outh Centre'l.... 53: 21: 26 : 58: 3e,: 4 : 86 : 14
Western ............ 13: 31 : 56: 73: 310: 17 2 /

United State3 ...: 26: 40: ~4 63: BE12 12
1 Based on ex~nressiois of l." *7'to 2*29 -f-er-tiliz-er &n-ufactuir-ers i-n the "Un-ite-d States,
15 to 150 in eacheor~i division.
2/Insufficient rarcorts.

In analyzint -hese preferences, n consideraticin of factors influencing the choices of ferti t',ar manufr-ot',rers is in order. The fact tV- t necarly all manufvcturers are fo'.irwith bur.1a '. beg-s,. whereas maniy of thor emr neve-r used cotton or paper bat~s, is of important rco in this connection. T.h ,re is also t'.he possibility that some bag users wore faiijar with a superior gra~de of oi)a-. type of bag and an inferior grade of another. .io-ie oft-.n, probably, the ctioice was teresult of a comparison of t-'es of' b"-gs with res, ect to the r ,rt~cul'-r phVs1cz I characteristics thfit the user consid )rocd imp-etan-6.

To ascertain how cottocn b! ,-s compare with other types with raflereace to
some of tbes4', fecrtiliz-er x-nufacturi-rs vere asked to indicate alIso tirbag preferences with r .--r-ct to certain desig-nated characteristics. Results indi ,atcj that burlap bags Lr erai -nrcf,_rred for the prot-ection auffor,d to contents, for ease of sewing l-" rT'! haieling, qnd for resistance --- h-'n(111r T ;ar f h ioheical deterioration. Cotton~ haC-s werated by most rna~uactuir,_rs :'hE-Tin-g the best appearance and th(e highest salvage value. Of importance in i-& ,_urir- tho, potential market for cottor, bc.-gs is th e fact that cotton bags Meep ~rdwihrsett all1 characteristics by a greater number of mnonufacturcrs th.' .n aot-aly used them (table 15).


Tablc 15.- Rrcportion of -manufacturers c(-nsi.dering burlap, cotton, or paper bags
as beSt with respect to speci-fied factors, United States, 1038
- - - - -
: 200-pound
25-pcund size 1/ 100-pound sizo size
:Purlap: Cotton: Pape.--:3urDip; Cctton:Faper: Burlap: Cotton : Per- Pe-- : Pe :sr- : I e:.- : Per-: Per- : Per: cent cent : c, e nt cent : cei-A- : cent: cent : cent
- protectionn tc) cf-intents 34 25 : 40 "'0 : 2 21
79 : 22
45 3 : 1 G 5 9 : 1 26
45 3? : 16 6 27 : 1
-o 1 n-- wear- 69 2 : 10 E 1 8E : 12
Re 1 C :ical
43 : 14 38 55 : '75 : 30 : 7/9 : 21
35 : 60 5 : /--6 : 51 : 1 : 43 : 52
13 : 65 22 : : 15 : 27 : 73
.,-ts froa 1 ,E to 151 -_.qnuf .-icturcr,- f o r the 25-pound size and
7 7 1
a- -s fo r the L' G-pound a j. C 12.00--ound sizes.

.0-Z M-11,1- RX3

a l fert-_14-7er pr 'ucts are slipped r nd s- 'Id to the ultimate r. s r, i:,- -7:,9 = E t f I h e o f r .7 low prices for
fa'r,. i, wc -le and have since
-leadJ1v in pu-ticul, rly in. certain of the Southern States.

'j'7 7 P
, _4 1-1 f- rtili7er tcnn--7,e in b,.ir1!,p bags,
12 'T e-c- 4i ir r. _--:ta f-i-o-,i a survey
p-pe Cci : Sr ndinE+ h P t nn,, _,7 e I i n 21 a 2 perc-nt in I' -erc-?nt of all .--s used in 19.37 were
I-Irly 1) percent 7,er--.I; ne _,, cond-hLnd. Use
!,S,- nt 1

-iv- ly than al 1 t-thor tyj es c---. ,;ned in Missth ,- arc- used extensiv,.1v in Alabama r m(-st extensively used in the Ycrk, 1" Jer,, y, and Wisconsin. Durlrir I-,,. -s --.re

is in thcse s(-*uthc:rn 13tf,.ti s _,re IC(")-rnund cont -r j-trtl Y 1 or,st (Jifferi nt,ial I-, t co _Ioii and burff 00 vr.ilue of
f'-) r -T' -ro uid
!.o uf7z(- t r.uOl c(-ttori as T-ssible ere

I: -t;cns rf tl-.:, cnuntrv in ,: ize3 j 1 4 SUT ,,-l ic." rind

j),( jI i'l 14 "t If n' i- in n
t '.-rth C"."Al"11 Is 11

In 1937, i8 million new cotton baps were used for fertilizer, requirW~ 2P million square yards of Qsnaura, astirmeted to be the equivalont of 19,000 bl-JIcs of cotton, Cotton twin~a used in sewing fertilizer bags is estimated to !- -ve utilized aii additionw-l 1,000 ba los of cotton.

In addition, 100 million linear yards of~ burlap, or 12 percent of total
Inate~d corisLrtion of burl1ip in Us.~ United States, were utilized in the 78 :A1.1ion no-,, burlap bnags w~ied for fertilizer in 193'?.

Y -r-to-year demand for- fatlie axd consequently for fertilizer bags is
.terinad chiefly by economic factors 4,uch as income from last year's Crops, agricultural price prospects, crop ooritioas, and fertilizer prices. Over a longer
i'cant factors. ConecEa.,trat ion of fertilizers increased 24 percent between
1.9!T) ,.nd 1936.

SneoiF~a bags carrying liners of papcr, sometimes impregnated with asphalt, h~ve bean dosi-iited to pr-voiit Sifting, J11ting, and destruction by acid. ImprovePients iii thfe pthysicfl a.;-.d cbeical quwlitie4 of sme fertilizer products in rece'it 1-ea-s hava re ,duced tha #Ao for tte pro t-et (give3n by these special types o f bfl1- 3.

F~avtilizer nnnufacture's t1tcuol# burlap b-ngs were the 100-pound and 200p.ound count Ji.ers hest cchT~ hyziic_-1y for handling fe ,rtili7.or, blit pre-ferred tott~li b-Zge ior thc, 253-rmund size !3urlvp bnigs wore profe-.r,3A1 f- -.'-otection to contt eats, fir sewirj, C10si1nF (m mI~ as(-, ,:_nd for reItK o chemical
)1rir -1 Cottoni~ vx th h""t t1o bo- best rot the 2-;L7,' of appearclnm-e rird s-.Lvage vnlue. A .-':fe'ter :n _b- r) i rantfacturcrs s- .Ld t' they proferred cotton bc.,s in n3roer ::ce to7 a--ich factor t'ian were actually using them.

Lov:r 'ricus for citton osnrAbvurf in lCl< nd since 1937, na=-om7d consier tl: tl'.e n"aI--r. bct ioemi the ecst of burlap and cotton ba,-s r~n thiJs greatly stir-uly: td the ie of cotton bags. If present 10W; p-i,-s. for coltca ba 's conti~v> acl-iticne:l uise of them for fertiliz r sea&-is eccuomicelly jstfrleand t~.~urc~,~spcielyin those sections where-, used cotton bags have a high salvage

o 0O 00


3 1262 08918 7263

This report is the tr~enty- second of a series by the Burea of Mrinultura. 7CO,:- c rltn to the utilization of American cotton. Otes ied ae:

A >, rtial L-ist of U~ses of Am1erican Rawv Cotton
Cotton 1a,-s in the Wolesale Grocery Trade
'1-:t of print. See sixth pullication listed)
Xsfor Cotton aM. its Froducts
>tto-,n nj for Cotton
wi tic 'Mill Conmu.ption of knerican Cotton by Grades
and Staples
Cotton ~&said Other Orntainers in tht Wholesale Grocery Trade
Octton 'P-a ;s in the Fertiliz,'er Indus~try
Zaality of tie Cotton Spun in the United States
(Year ending Jualv 31, 1928)
The Use of Cotton Bags as Consuamer Packages for Potatoes
Cotton Con2-mption in rower Laundries of the United States, 1928
Cotton Picking; S'ks, Cotton picking Sheets, and Tarpaalins
Used on Cotton Farms olf the United States
Staple Lenpth of Forcign-Gi~own Cotton Consumed in the United
States, 1928-1(261
Use of Cotton Ba ;s, id O'thr Cc'ntaiiiers in Flour Mills of the
Jnit'd' 01t'Ates 193*1
Comparative Aavantages of Juto and Cotton Bagging for Axe4can
Cotto'l Baoles
Ucse of Ccttcn 3sai'd Other Containers in Flour Mills of the
Unit-A. Status 1932
E f fe ct of OCertnln Bale Covers on the Spinning Behavior of Cotton
Cotton 'Fcobri cs f or D itumi nous- Surf aced R~o ads
CotIt1-con and Othii(r Materials Utilized in Bags for Cement
'0o1ton Utilized in-, Combhed Marquisette
"-1 t ) on Uoutj in Tire Fabrics
Cotton 3ui ,s and Othe-r Contd~nars in Flour Mills, of the United
ot-s Yc cars Encd.-, June 30, 1933 Pnd 1934
Utilization ni" Cotton and Other M~terials in Fertilizer Bags

The nt'4lies reported in this series are a part of a program of research of trl'" Unitod .tater Department of Agriculture and cooperating agencies on the utilizr~iori of Antricnn cotton.