Corn Elevator in Wheat Country

Corn Elevator in Wheat Country

CHS/Connell Grain Growers
Connell, WA • 509-234-2641

Founded: 1929
Storage capacity: 12.75 million bushels at 13 locations
Annual volume: 14 million bushels
Number of members: 1,000+
Number of employees: 45
Crops handled: Corn; hard red winter, soft white, and dark northern spring wheat
Services: Grain handling and merchandising, seed
Key personnel:
• Scott Althoff, general manager
• Chris Guess, Bruce location mgr.
• Camron Bishop, lead merchandiser

Supplier List
Aeration fans ...........Rolfes@Boone, AIRLANCO
Bin sweeps .............The GSI Group
Bucket elevators .....The GSI Group
Catwalks .... LeMar Industries Corp.
Cleaner ....................... Intersystems
Contractor ..J & D Construction Inc.
Control system ....Kent Electric Inc.
Conveyors ..............The GSI Group
Distributor..................Schlagel Inc.
Dust collection...... Donaldson Torit
Elevator buckets ......Maxi-Lift Inc.
Engineering ................... VAA LLC
Grain dryer .......Zimmerman Grain Dryers
Grain temp system be determined
Level indicators ..... BinMaster Level Controls
Millwright ...J & D Construction Inc.
Moisture meter ....... DICKEY-john
Steel storage ..........The GSI Group, Meridian Mfg. Inc.
Temporary storage ..LeMar Industries Corp.
Tower support system ..........LeMar Industries Corp.
Truck probe .........Gamet Mfg. Inc.
Truck scale .......Rice Lake Weighing Systems

Eastern Washington, with its steeply rolling hills, is known primarily as wheat country. However, near the center of the state, the land flattens out, plenty of irrigation water is available from the Columbia River, and the soil becomes suitable for corn production.

Connell Grain Growers, a division of CHS, wanted to capture some of that production. “This is a corn deficit region,” says General Manager Scott Althoff, who joined Connell 2-1/2 years ago after running the Maple River Grain complex in Casselton, ND. “A lot of it is shipped in from out of state. Most of the corn grown here goes to local dairies and feedlots.”

To handle some of that corn, Connell built a 2.2-million-bushel elevator at Bruce, WA, including roughly 700,000 bushels of upright steel storage and a 1.5-million-bushel ground pile. Bruce is mainly an industrial park located about five miles west of Othello, WA. Althoff says one factor in selecting the site was potential rail service from a short-line that connects to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, although for now, the elevator at Bruce is strictly a truck house.

After a standard bidding process, Connell Grain Growers selected J & D Construction Inc., Montevideo, MN (320-269-2101) as contractor and millwright. Althoff comments that J & D’s bid was competitive, and the coop board liked its proposed design best.

VAA LLC, Plymouth, MN (763-559-9100), performed structural engineering on the project, while Kent Electric Inc., Moses Lake, WA (509-760-6123), served as electrical contractor.

Construction began in July 2013 and was completed a year later, for an undisclosed cost.

Two Types of Storage
Upright storage at Bruce includes a large GSI corrugated steel tank for dry grain and a smaller steel tank for wet grain.

The larger 500,000-bushel tank stands 90 feet in diameter, 85 feet 6 inches tall at the eave, and 110 feet 7 inches tall at the peak. It has outside stiffeners, flat floor, 12-inch GSI X-Series sweep auger, 18-cable (brand name) grain temperature monitoring system, and BinMaster level indicators. A set of four Rolfes@Boone 25-hp centrifugal fans provide 1/7 cfm per bushel of aeration on coarse grains through in-floor ducting.

The 120,000-bushel wet tank stands 48 feet in diameter, 69 feet 6 inches tall at the eave, and 82 feet 1 inch tall at the peak. It is equipped similarly to the larger tank, except for a 7-cable grain temperature system. A pair of Rolfes@Boone 10-hp centrifugal fans provide 1/9 cfm per bushel of aeration.

The 1.5-million-bushel LeMar temporary storage system features a XXX-footdiameter ring with 4-foot perforated steel sidewalls, blacktop floor, and a LeMar center fill tower equipped with four AIRLANCO 50-hp centrifugal fans providing pull-up aeration. The pile is filled using an inclined 20,000-bph open belt conveyor, which receives grain either from the facility’s below-ground tunnel system or through a dedicated receiving pit next to the pile.

Handling Systems
Incoming trucks are weighed on a 110-foot Rice Lake pitless scale adjacent to the facility’s control room, where they also are sampled with a Gamet Apollo truck probe. From there, they proceed to one of three small mechanical receiving pits, two of which feed a 20,000-bph Schlagel leg, and the third of which feeds a second 20,000-bph leg. The three legs are enclosed in an 18-foot-x-18-foot LeMar support tower with switchback staircase.

“A lot of the corn producers in the area also produce crops such as potatoes, onions, and sweet corn,” Althoff says. “As a result, they use live-bottom trucks, which take a relatively long time to unload. Dedicating two pits for those trucks can help speed things up.”

The two legs, which are outfitted with a single row of Maxi-Lift 20x8 lowprofile CC-MAX buckets mounted on a 22-inch (brand name) belt, lift grain up to a seven-duct Schlagel SwingSet double distributor. The operator has the option of running grain through a 10,000-bph Intersystems gravity screener, before it reaches the distributor.

A pair of 20,000-bph GSI overhead drag conveyors carry grain from the distributor out to the upright storage. Those tanks empty onto another set of GSI 20,000-bph drags in below-ground tunnels that run back to the receiving legs.

In addition to storage, the distributor also can send grain via gravity spout to a 6,000-bph, natural-gas-fired Zimmerman tower dryer. Althoff says the dryer was used extensively during the 2013 harvest and performed well.

For truck loading, grain is sent via gravity spout to a Meridian 3,200-bushel welded steel surge tank mounted above the truck scale. Screenings go to a second Meridian tank, rated at 3,400 bushels, adjacent to the first.

Ed Zdrojewski, editor