Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 20 June 2007 08:04
Cooperative Grain & Supply, headquartered in Hillsboro, announced this week it will add a major grain-storage facility on the east side of its elevator in Marion.
The 60-foot-by-120-foot, 300,000-bushel concrete grain bin will increase Marion’s capacity 75 percent.
Lyman Adams, CG&S general manager, said he could not release a specific price for the free-standing facility, but it will be more than $3 per bushel of capacity.
The CG&S board has contracted with McPherson Concrete for construction of the structure.
Adams said completion is targeted for June 2008, with groundbreaking planned for this fall. He said the boom in the production of ethanol for fuel has made it difficult to have an earlier date.
Besides the cost of the concrete, the project will include additional hardware and grain-handling equipment, Adams said.
The construction will include an underground tunnel connected to the existing elevator tubes for grain movement between them.
Adams said the plans, if needed, include two additional 300,000-bushel bins, one on each side of this one. He said the price of building those will be reduced because they will be able to use the tunnel installed for the first one.
The new bin primarily will be used for wheat, corn and milo. The existing elevator at Marion has 467,000 bushels of capacity, Adams said.
“In most years we’ll take in 1.2 million bushels of these crops at Marion,” he said. “This doesn’t solve all of our problems, but it does help us.”
Adam speculated that the total average annual bushels received this year will be reduced by the anticipated below-average wheat crop.
Adams said one major problem solved by the new bin for producers will be that they no longer will have to wait in line for semi-trucks to take grain out in order to make more room. That should make farm harvest work flow more smoothly, and also take some load off elevator personnel.
Adams said the CG&S board, elected by area farmer-members, “is very excited” about the project.
“We’ve always had storage problems at harvest at Hillsboro and Marion,” he said. “We usually always have to truck out 200,000 to 300,000 bushels at each of these locations. We’ve always had to worry about needing storage.
“At harvest, we’ve had to do whatever we needed to do to take the grain,” he added. “We’ve done lots of things that at first don’t make sense, like hauling grain from Marion and Hillsboro into Canada just to keep filling.”
Mike Thomas, manager of the elevator at Marion, said it has always been tough mixing truck drivers trying to take loads to terminals with farmers trying to get their fields harvested.
Thomas said along with the bin, the unloading times with upgrading handling equipment will be reduced nearly by half, from 7,000 to 14,000 bushels per hour to 24,000 bushels an hour.
This is mostly being accomplished through an already completed upgrade on the outer leg of the elevator to be followed by an upgrade to the inner leg, he said.
Thomas said farmers will be pleased to hear this, but it may do more in aiding elevator grain mixing and marketing than it does for unloading. He said if the elevator receives grain in layers of light-weight and heavier grain, wet and dry grain, marketing becomes difficult.
The terminals will reject loads if too much wet grain is in the mix, he said. The new equipment and bin will help separate and blend the grain for uniformity.
“It’s going to cut all our stress load in half,” he said.
Thomas said expansion won’t necessarily increase the number of jobs at the location, but it will increase efficiencies for current employees.
“The last major expansion we had was four years ago when we purchased the Collingwood ADM (Archer Daniel Midland) elevator at Canton,” Adams said. “Most earlier construction at Marion was completed in the 1950s and 1960s.
Adams said the Canton facility added 610,000 bushels of storage. CG&S also has 420,000 bushels for storage at Canada, 522,000 at Hillsboro and 375,000 at Lehigh.
With the addition of this new grain bin, Adams said, the board feels it has embarked on a long-range plan to solve storage, loading and unloading problems.