Facility Feature
Sublette Farmers Elevator Co. Adds Single 1.3-Million-Bushel Tank at All-Steel Site

Sublette Farmers works closely with Prairie Land Millwright to reduce cost per bushel

Sublette, IL - Sublette Farmers Elevator Co., a small cooperative in northern Illinois with about 350 members, operates two grain locations, both in Sublette. One, located downtown, is a primarily concrete facility, while the other, just northwest of town on U.S. Highway 52, is all steel.

With more room to add storage and a more favorable cost per bushel to build, the coop board decided in 2018 to add storage space at the steel site.

During the design process, Sublette Farmers worked closely with contractor and millwright Prairie Land Millwright Inc., Mendota, IL (815-538-3085), to reduce cost per bushel even further by going for the largest tank they could get. (Sublette Farmers has worked with Prairie Land on numerous projects in the past.)

The choice was a 1.3-million-bushel Chief Model CB-45 tank standing 139 feet in diameter, 89 feet tall at the eave, and 126 feet tall at the peak.

Steel Chief tanks feature sidedraw spouts

“The reason we wanted the Chief tank was that at the time (2018), Chief was the only manufacturer that would install sidedraw spouts in that diameter,” says General Manager Reed Akre, who previously worked for Maplehurst Farms, another northern Illinois grain handle, as well as holding a farm manager position. This design allowed for two sidedraw spouts 180 degrees apart.

Additional tank features:

Chief “W” stiffeners designed for added support of vertical loads.

Interlocking J-Rib roof panels and structure.

Prairie Land supplied its own enhancement to the tank, a zero-entry BinGator paddle sweep for final unloading.

Some subcontractors on the project:

Willett Hoffman & Associates, Dixon, IL (815-284-3381), performed engineering services.

Erbes Electric, Sublette (815-849-5508), was the electrical contractor.

Kevin Shaw Construction, Amboy, IL (815-849-5511), did the excavation work.

W&W Concrete Construction Inc., Earlville, IL supplied and poured concrete.

Construction on the new tank began in June 2019, and it was completed around Oct. 15, in time for most of the harvest.

Upright Storage Supports 50,000 Peak Load

In addition to the sidedraws and the paddle sweep, the new Chief tank is outfitted with a flat concrete floor, outside stiffeners, a 34-cable TSGC grain temperature monitoring system, and G140 galvanizing on the roof and G115 galvanizing on the sidewall panels. The tank roof supports a 50,000-pound peak load.

A set of six Caldwell 40-hp centrifugal fans supply 1/10 cfm per bushel of c aeration through in-floor ducting, with the assistance of six roof exhausters and 54 roof vents.

A 17,000-bph GSI drag conveyor carries grain out to the new tank from existing elevator equipment. The tank empties onto a GSI 10,000-bph drag conveyor housed in a below-ground tunnel.

“It’s been working real well for us,” Akre comments after a year of service from the tank storing the 2019 crop.

In an additional project at the Sublette Farmers steel elevator, the cooperative added a second truck scale outside the facility office and scalehouse.

The 72-foot-long B-Tec pit-type scale is serving outbound trucks and is under control of the facility’s OneWeigh automation system. An automated scale ticket printer is mounted next to the scale.

Sublette Farmers Elevator Co:

  • Sublette, IL • 815-849-5222
  • Founded: 1919
  • Storage capacity: 5 million bushels at two locations
  • Annual volume: 6 million bushels
  • Annual revenues: $22 million
  • Number of members: 350
  • Number of employees: 10
  • Crops handled: Corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat
  • Services: Grain handling and merchandising, feed, seed, dry fertilizer, package chemicals, lumber, hardware

Key personnel:

  • Reed Akre, general manager
  • Jason Streit, assistant manager
  • Sarah Kaecker, office manager
  • Leanne Dickinson, grain accountant
  • Denny Antione, operations
  • Nick Kaecker, operations

Suppliers for the project

  • Aeration fans • Caldwell
  • Automation system • Sentry Pac
  • Bin sweep • Prairie Land Millwright Inc./Bin Gator
  • Concrete • W&W Concrete Construction Inc.
  • Control system • Harvest Engineering LLC
  • Contractor/millwright • Prairie Land Millwright Inc.
  • Conveyors • GSI
  • Electrical contractor • Erbes Electric
  • Excavation • Kevin Shaw Construction
  • Grain temperature system • Tri-States Grain Conditioning Inc.
  • Motors • Siemens
  • Speed reducers • Sumitomo Drive Technologies
  • Steel storage • Chief Agri
  • Steel tank erection • Wieber Steel Construction
  • Truck scale • B-Tec, D&J Scale

Reprinted from Grain Journal July/August 2020 Issue

Sublette Farmers Elevator Co. Gallery

Single 1.3-Million-Bushel Tank at All-Steel Site

  • Steel Chief Storage Tank
  • Chief Steel Storage Tank, Ground Level
  • Reed Akre and Jason Streit
  • B-Tect Pit Truck Scale

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