Economical Storage

“Farmers don’t want to wait to deliver their grain – we needed the space to accommodate them.” That’s the reasoning behind Farmers Grain & Feed Co.’s latest expansion project at its Columbia City, IN elevator (260-244-5155), according to Vice President of Operations Jerel Shively.

“We had 2 million bushels of upright storage capacity with 2 million bushels in temporary storage, and we were almost full,” he says. So in the spring of 2016, the company began considering storage options.

Shively says he could have chosen to add steel storage for dry corn again. (In 2010, Farmers Grain added a 750,000-bushel, 105-foot-diameter Brock steel tank.) However, that would have required adding a grain dryer, in addition to an existing 4,700-bph Brock tower dryer.

“The most economical plan for us was to build concrete tanks designed for wet corn storage. That way, we could receive grain without having to dry it immediately. Wet storage improves our customer service and operational flexibility,” he explains.

Shively says the company opted for concrete tanks over steel tanks, because “concrete is better for grain quality.”

Acting as its own in-house contractor, Farmers Grain hired McPherson Concrete Storage Systems, McPherson, KS (800-999-8151), to build two jumpform concrete tanks. “We saw McPherson’s ad in Grain Journal – it looked like they did quality work, so we gave them a call,” says Shively. “I’m glad we did, because they did a very nice job for us.”

For McPherson, it marks one of the few projects it has done east of the Mississippi River.

Project Timeline
Farmers Grain broke ground on the project in late April 2016. Wigent Excavating, Columbia City (260-244-2014), was hired for site preparation.

In late May, Yagel Grain Systems, Columbia City (260-248-2311), cut the facility’s existing tunnel wall and installed the footer, as well as 55-foot-deep, 16-inch auger cast piles.

In July, Yagel built an 8-foot-tall stemwall and a system of 6-foot-x-6-foot above-ground tunnels.

McPherson then started construction of the two tanks, which were completed by August.

One tank measures 48 feet in diameter and 120 feet tall and holds 190,000 bushels. The other, measuring 60 feet in diameter and 120 feet tall, holds 300,000 bushels. Both tanks have flat-bottom floors.

The 48-foot tank is equipped with a Safe-Grain aeration system that provides 1/7 cfm per bushel from four Chicago Blower 20-hp, 3,500-rpm centrifugal fans and three 5-hp, 1,750-rpm roof exhaust fans.

The 60-foot tank also is equipped with a Safe-Grain system for 1/8 cfm per bushel from two Chicago Blower 40-hp, 1,750-rpm centrifugal fans and three 5-hp, 1,750-rpm roof exhaust fans.

The tanks also have BinMaster level indicators, Brock zero-entry bin sweeps, and a Safe-Grain SafeTrack wireless temperature detection system. The 48-foot tank is equipped with seven temperature cables, and the 60-foot tank has 11.

Both tanks are tied into the facility’s existing receiving systems. Each tank is filled by a Brock 15,000-bph drag conveyor, and a third Brock 7,000-bph transfer conveyor fills the dryer. The tanks empty into a single Brock 10,000-bph drag conveyor running back to the receiving leg. The 60-foot-diameter tank also can be emptied partially by a sidedraw spout.

The facility has rail-loading capabilities but ships over 90% of its corn to two nearby ethanol plants and its soybeans to two nearby soybean processing plants.

Tucker Scharfenberg, associate editor

Farmers Grain & Feed Co.
Columbia City, IN • 260-244-5155

Founded: 1956
Storage capacity: 10 million bushels at seven locations
Annual volume: 23 million bushels
Number of employees: 40
Crops handled: Corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat
Services: Grain handling and merchandising

Key personnel:

  • Terry Shively, president
  • Trent Shively, CFO and merchandiser
  • Dennis Shively, vice president
  • Jerel Shively, vice president of operations
  • Mark Shively, vice president of farming operations

Supplier List

Aeration fans - Chicago Blower
Aeration system - Safe-Grain, Inc.
Bin sweeps - Brock Grain Systems
Catwalk - LeMar Industries Corp.
Concrete storage - McPherson Concrete Storage Systems
Contractor - In-house
Conveyors (drag) - Brock Grain Systems
Excavation - Wigent Excavation
Grain temperature system - Safe-Grain, Inc.
Level indicators - BinMaster Level Controls
Millwright - Yagel Grain Systems, in-house
Moisture meter - Perten Instruments
Motion sensors - Process Control Systems