Grain-storage capacity rises at CG&S elevator

Workers with Frisbie Construction use a crane to raise the head shaft and motor that powers the “leg” being attached to the newest of three concrete grain bins at the Cooperative Grain & Supply elevator at Hillsboro. The target for completing the project is June 1, and will provide a total storage capacity of more than 1.9 million bushels, including flat storage and bunker capacity, at the Hillsboro location.Cooperative Grain & Supply continued progress last week to complete an ongoing project to increase on-site storage at its Hills­boro elevator to just over 1.9 million bushels.

Workers with Frisbie Construction added a “leg” to the newest of three concrete grain bins late last week.

“The blue shaft is the leg,” said Lyman Adams, CG&S general manager. “One side is going up with cups to elevate the grain and the other side is going down. It is a continuous-motion leg belt with cups going round and round, elevating the grain to top, and then the distributor is set to send grain to a certain bin.”

The leg is about 165 feet tall and will elevate 15,000 bushels per hour, he added.

Each of the three concrete bins at Hillsboro are 124 feet tall and will hold 306,000 bushels.

“Total concrete-bin capacity at Hillsboro will be 1.418 million bushels,” Adams said. “Adding bunker capacity and flat storage, the total licensed space will be 1,903,000 bushels.”

The completion date to receive grain is June 1.

With the addition of the new leg, Adams said the elevator will have the capacity to unload trucks at 35,000 bushels per hour.

He said the dramatic increase in on-site storage capacity at numerous cooperatives around the state is due to several reasons.

“The industry had not built much storage since the ’50s and ’60s when government storage was the driving force,” Adams said. “When Congress went to the ‘freedom to farm’ farm bill that gave producers options on which crops they could plant, that led to more corn acres. Farmers did not have to plant crops based on their historic acres.

The emergence of genetically modified organisms is another major factor.

“Add the improved genetics and GMO breakthroughs in seed production, the yield-per-acre curve just keeps going up,” Adams said. “In our area, producers have switched wheat acres to corn and soybean acres, which has increased the bushels we handle each year.”

Adams said GMO seed makes higher yields possible, especially for corn and soybeans. Some observers predict corn yields of 300-plus bushels per acre in the near future.

The completion of the third concrete bin will completes the expansion project in Hillsboro.

“There are no other plans at this time to add additional space, but that could always change,” Adams said. “We still have plans to add a third bin and a leg at Marion, similar to what we did at Hills­boro.”

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