Facility Feature
Crystal Valley Cooperative Addresses Efficient Operations at Branch Elevator

Improvements on speed, capacity motivated new additions

TRIMONT, Min. - The Crystal Valley Cooperative grain elevator on the edge of Trimont, MN (population 747 in south central Minnesota) has been a town landmark since the early 1960s, when the facility’s large wood house was built. Some concrete and steel tanks were added later.

Standing in contrast to the mid-20th century structure is a modern 21st century addition completed in September 2017. The addition includes a new GSI 730,000-bushel corrugated steel tank, 20,000-bph S-M pit and leg encased in a Warrior tower with switchback stairs, 2,420-bph Zimmerman tower dryer, and other up-to-date grain handling equipment.

“Our biggest motivation was to improve on speed and capacity,” says Location Manager Brian “Bush” Krumwiede (507-639-2031), who has held that position since the beginning of 2017. “We had an old dryer that had served us well, but it was becoming a bottleneck. We had only one truck scale ahead of one pit and leg.

“We also looked at our space needs, and we felt that more storage space would keep us from having to pile grain on the ground, given the volumes we were handling.”

Crystal Valley hired CEEC Inc., Wabasso, MN (507-342-2383), to serve as contractor and millwright on the project. Krumwiede notes that CEEC is no stranger to Crystal Valley, having built a rail loading terminal for the cooperative in Hope, MN.

Other participating contractors:

  • VAA, LLC, Plymouth, MN (763-577-9100), performed structural engineering work.
  • Knobelsdorff Electric Inc., Goodhue, MN (651-923-4970), was the electrical contractor.
  • Mathiowetz Construction Inc., Sleepy Eye, MN (507-794- 6953), did excavation and site preparation work.

Construction began in the spring of 2017 and was completed in late September 2017, in time for harvest.

The new GSI tank, dedicated to dry corn, stands 105 feet in diameter, 91 feet tall at the eave, and 125 feet tall at the peak.

The flat-bottom tank has outside stiffeners, 16-inch GSI X-Series zero-entry bin sweep, and a 24-cable CMC grain temperature monitoring system.

A set of four Rolfes@Boone 40-hp centrifugal fans with silencers provide 1/10 cfm per bushel of aeration through in-floor ducting with the assistance of 11 roof exhausters.

New grain handling equipment makes operations efficient

The project also included installation of a pair of Rice Lake pit-type 80-foot inbound and outbound truck scales, which have no automation system yet. Ahead of the scale, a Gamet Apollo truck probe takes samples and sends them to the grain lab inside the office building, where they are tested with a Perten AM5200-A UGMA moisture meter for moisture, test weight, and temperature, and a MCi Kicker grain tester to sift dockage, broken/shrunken/split kernels, and FM.

Trucks then are routed to one of three receiving pits. One of the three is new, a 1,000-bushel enclosed mechanical pit feeding a 20,000-bph S-M leg outfitted with a single row of 18x8 Maxi-Lift Tiger-Tuff low-profile buckets on a 20-inch Continental belt. The leg is encased in a Warrior 16-foot-x-16-foot tower with switchback stairs.

The leg deposits grain into a Schlagel Synchroset six-duct rotary distributor. From there, grain runs out to storage via overhead 20,000-bph S-M drag conveyors. The tanks empty onto 10,000-bph S-M drags in above-ground tunnels, which take grain back to the new leg. Trucks are loaded inside the receiving shed via a 5,000-bushel Meridian surge tank reached by gravity spout from the distributor.

The new 2,500-bph Zimmerman tower dryer is fired by natural gas and serviced by a pair of S-M 4,000-bph wet and dry legs. “We had a wet fall in 2017, and the dryer worked very well,” says Krumwiede.

Company Profile: Crystal Valley Cooperative

  • Lake Crystal, MN • 507-726-6455
  • Founded: 1927
  • Storage capacity: 27.5 million bushels at 9 locations
  • Annual volume: 41.5 million bushels
  • Annual revenues: $336.1 million
  • Number of members: 2,700
  • Number of employees: 251
  • Crops handled: Corn, soybeans
  • Services: Grain handling and merchandising, feed, energy, agronomy

Key personnel at Trimont:

  • Roger Kienholz, CEO
  • Brian “Bush” Krumwiede, location manager
  • Joe Williams, coop grain operations manager
  • Matthew Ask, grain operations
  • Sara Kunz, administrative assistant
  • Bob Bloomgren, marketer


  • Aeration fans • Rolfes@Boone
  • Bearing sensors • CMC Industrial Electronics
  • Bin sweeps • GSI
  • Bucket elevators • S-M Enterprises
  • Catwalks • Warrior Mfg. LLC
  • Cleaner • InterSystems
  • Contractor/Millwright • CEEC Inc.
  • Control Systems • Knobelsdorff Electric
  • Conveyors • S-M Enterprises
  • Distributor • Schlagel Inc.
  • Dockage tester • Mid-Continent Industries Inc.
  • Electrical contractor • Knobelsdorff Electric
  • Elevator buckets • Maxi-Lift Inc.
  • Engineering (structural) • VAA LLC
  • Excavation • Mathiowetz Construction
  • Grain dryer • Zimmerman Grain Dryers
  • Grain temperature system • CMC Industrial Electronics
  • Leg belting • Continental
  • Moisture meter • Perten Instruments
  • Motion sensors • CMC Industrial Electronics
  • Steel storage • GSI, Meridian Mfg. Inc.
  • Tower support system • Warrior Mfg. LLC
  • Truck probe • Gamet Mfg. Inc.
  • Truck scales • Rice Lake Weighing Systems

Reprinted From GRAIN JOURNAL November/December 2018

Crystal Valley Cooperative Gallery

  • Crystal Valley Coop Zimmerman Tower Dryer
  • New Construction
  • Crystal Valley Cooperative Aerial View

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