Facility Feature
Farmers Coop Elevator Co. Adds 1.5-Million-Bushel Steel Annex

Farmers Coop Elevator Co.'s rail-loading terminal elevator in Montevideo, MN. The right half of the structure is all new construction

Minnesota cooperative touts access to five railroads with receiving, storage expansion

Montevideo, MN — In 2015 and 2016, when it came time for the Farmers Cooperative Elevator Co. board of directors to consider an expansion project, there was little doubt that it would be at the east elevator, one of two, at Montevideo, MN (320-269-6531).

“We have access to four Class I railroads and one large regional,” says Scott Dubbelde, general manager for the cooperative, which operates eight grain elevators around west central Minnesota. Dubbelde came to Farmers Coop 25 years ago from United Coop of Rushmore, MN.

The Class I railroads include the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific, which can take the coop’s grain to a variety of markets in the southeastern or southwestern states and Pacific Northwest, as well as to Mexico. The fifth railroad – the Twin City and Western – provides access to barge loaders on the Mississippi River.

The expansion included the addition of 1.5 million bushels of corrugated steel storage, two new pits and legs rated at 20,000 bph, new inbound and outbound truck scales, a new 80,000-bph bulk weigh loadout scale, and the addition of enough track to increase loading capacity from 54 to 115 covered hopper cars.

Vision expands elevator to east for shuttle trains

Many of the design suggestions came from the bid winner, CEEC Inc., Wabasso, MN (507-342-2383). “They’ve done a lot of work for us,” Dubbelde says. “Chuck (CEEC CEO Charles Ricketts) had the vision to see us expanding the elevator to the east to accommodate shuttle trains rather than to the west, as we had originally thought.”

Also participating in the expansion:

  • VAA, LLC, Plymouth, MN (763-559-9100), performed structural engineering, site engineering, and track design.
  • Veit & Co. Inc., Rogers, MN (763-428-2242) performed earth and site work.
  • Potter Electric, Montevideo (320-269-6613), was the electrical contractor.
  • Control Stuff Inc, Cologne, MN (952-466-2175), provided automation systems for the expanded elevator.
  • Kahler Automation Corp., Fairmont, MN (507-235-6648), provided truck scale automation.
  • Northern Plains Rail Services, Fordville, ND (701-229-3330), constructed the new track using 135-lb. heavy-duty rail and steel ties.

Construction on the steel addition began in June 2015 and was completed by September for $19.4 million.

The two new GSI tanks stand 105 feet in diameter, 93 feet 6 inches tall at the eaves, and 121 feet 8 inches tall at the peaks holding 750,000 bushels each.

The flat bottom tanks have outside stiffeners, 10,000-bph Springland sweeps, and Control Stuff sonar-type level indicators but no grain temperature cables. Aeration is provided by four Rolfes@Boone 30-hp centrifugal fans and 11 roof exhausters at 1/11 cfm per bushel in each tank.

Project includes hopper-type blending bins

In addition to the big storage tanks, new storage includes two 27-foot-diameter, 25,000-bushel GSI hopper-type blending bins, and two 5,000-bushel Meridian tanks, one as a surge bin for truck loading and the other as a screenings bin.

Farmers Coop added 80-foot inbound and outbound Vande Berg pit-type scales under the control of Kahler Automation Streamline Scale Integration software. The side-by-side scales are accompanied by a Gamet Apollo truck probe, plus Kahler RFID card readers, intercom, and scale ticket printer.

From the scales, drivers proceed to a two-bay receiving shed, where they deposit grain into a pair of 1,000-bushel mechanical receiving pits. Each pit feeds a 20,000-bph S-M/Howell leg equipped with 20x8 Maxi-Lift HiPro buckets mounted on 22-inch belts. The legs are enclosed in a 20-foot-x-20-foot-x-218-foot Warrior support tower equipped with switchback stairs.

The legs deposit grain through 25,000-bph InterSystems gravity screeners into a 12-duct, 20-inch Schlagel double distributor rotary set, which in turn deposits grain onto 20,000-bph S-M/Howell overhead drag conveyors running out to storage. An additional 20,000-bph drag carries grain back to the older sections of the elevator.

“Chuck (Ricketts) designed the elevator so that grain can be moved from any one point to any other point anywhere in the facility,” Dubbelde comments.

Grain in storage is reclaimed onto 60,000-bph Hi Roller Hi Life enclosed belt conveyors in above-grade, 7-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide tunnels. These conveyors carry grain to a 60,000-bph S-M/Howell loadout leg equipped with two rows of Maxi-Lift 18x8 HiPro buckets mounted on a 40-inch belt.

Grain from the shipping leg runs through an InterSystems 40,000-bph gravity screener with a 60,000-bph bypass into an 80,000-bph C&A Scale bulkweigher equipped with oneWeigh™ controls from Cultura Technologies. During rail loading operations, workers atop railcars are protected by an 800-foot trolley system from Fall Protection Systems.

“Everything has been running great,” Dubbelde says, noting that crews have loaded shuttles in nine hours or less, as well as smaller trains bound for an ethanol plant in nearby Granite Falls, MN.

Future plans are still nebulous, he adds, but the coop is looking into the possibility of building a fertilizer plant at the Montevideo site.

New inbound and outbound Vande Berg pitless truck scales with Gamet Apollo truck probe and Kahler digital readouts, ticket printers, RFID readers, and breakaway poles.

Company Info, Farmers Coop Elevator Co.

  • Hanley Falls, MN • 507-768-3448
  • Founded: 1912
  • Storage capacity: 23 million bushels at eight locations
  • Annual volume: 48 million bushels
  • Annual revenues: $200 million
  • Number of members: 1,800
  • Number of employees: 50
  • Crops handled: Corn, soybeans, hard red spring wheat, oats
  • Services: Grain handling and merchandising, feed, seed

Key personnel:

  • Scott Dubbelde, general manager
  • Bill Doyscher, assistant general manager
  • Bruce Bowman, location manager
  • Adam Goschey, operations lead

Supplier List

  • Aeration fans • Rolfes@Boone
  • Bin sweeps • Springland Mfg.
  • Bucket elevators • S-M Enterprises/Howell
  • Bulk weigh loadout scale • C&A Scales
  • Bulk weigh scale controls • Cultura Technologies LLC
  • Catwalks • Warrior Mfg. LLC
  • Cleaner • InterSystems
  • Contractor • CEEC Inc.
  • Control systems • Control Stuff Inc
  • Conveyors (belt) • Hi Roller Conveyors
  • Conveyors (drag) • S-M Enterprises/Howell
  • Distributor • Schlagel Inc.
  • Dust collection system • S-M Enterprises
  • Elevator buckets • Maxi-Lift Inc.
  • Engineering • VAA, LLC
  • Fall protection • Fall Protection Systems Corp.
  • Level indicators • Control Stuff Inc.

- Ed Zdrojewski, editor

Reprinted from GRAIN JOURNAL January/February 2017 Issue

Farmers Coop Elevator Co. Gallery

Coop Adds 1.5-Million-Bushel Steel Annex

  • Farmers Coop Elevator Co. Montevideo GSI steel tank Warrior tower
  • Farmers Coop Elevator Co. Montevideo aerial
  • Farmers Coop Elevator Co. Montevideo C&A bulkweigher
  • Farmers Coop Elevator Co. Montevideo Vande Berg scale Gamet Apollo probe Kahler digital

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