United Grain Corporation Adds Two More Tanks


United Grain Corporation
Vancouver, WA

Founded: 1969
Storage capacity: 16 million bushels at six locations
Annual volume at Bucyrus: 6 million bushels
Number of employees at Bucyrus: 5
Crops handled: Hard red winter and hard red spring wheat
Services: Grain handling and merchandising 

Key personnel at Bucyrus:
Leif Anderson, location manager
Travis Finck, assistant manager

Supplier List

Aeration fans ........................... GSI
Bin sweeps ..............Sioux Steel Co. 
Catwalk ..............Warrior Mfg. LLC
Civil engineering ...Big Sky Civil & Environmental, Inc.
Contractor ......Halverson Company
Conveyors (belt) ........... Hi Roller Conveyors
Conveyors (drag) ....... Schlagel Inc.
Consulting engineer............ Larson Engineering, Inc.
Electrical contractor........Mill Plain Electric
Grain temperature system ............Rolfes@Boone
Level indicators ....BinMaster Level Controls
Millwright.......Halverson Company
Steel storage ...........................GSI
Steel tank erection ................Allen Construction

In 2013, United Grain Corporation (UGC) opened three identical 1-million-bushel rail terminals across the Northern Plains on the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) main line in Conrad and Culbertson, MT and Bucyrus, ND to improve grain originations in the area and support the company’s Vancouver, WA export terminal. (See the January/February 2014 issue of Grain Journal.)

At the Bucyrus site, Location Manager Leif Anderson says there had been a plan since the facility was built to add more storage in the future; it was just a matter of timing.

That time came in the fall of 2014, when the Bucyrus rail terminal (701-567-6751) broke ground on an expansion project to double its storage capacity to 2 million bushels by adding two GSI 500,000-bushel corrugated steel tanks.

“With the addition of two more tanks, it allows us to hold onto grain a little longer, until basis moves indicate the right time to sell,” says Anderson, who has been manager since the elevator built in 2013.

The facility’s concrete workhouse, which was built by Younglove Construction, L.L.C., consists of an eight-pack of slipform tanks standing 35 feet in diameter and 165 feet tall holding 115,000 bushels each. Three interstice bins each hold 30,000 bushels.

With the addition of the two steel tanks, Anderson says the facility has 13 different bins to store its hard red winter and hard red spring wheat, which provides the capability to separate wheat based on protein levels.

Expansion Details

UGC considered bids from several contractors before selecting Halverson Company, Salt Lake City, UT (801- 467-9423), to serve as general contractor and millwright on the project.

“Halverson was able to complete the project on time, and it was a good learning experience for us on how to do these types of expansions in the future,” he says.

Other project contractors include:

• Mill Plain Electric, Vancouver, WA (360-574-7265), was hired as electrical contractor. “Mill Plain works quite a bit with our export terminal in Vancouver, so they are pretty familar with UGC and the way we do things,” says Anderson.

• Larson Engineering, Inc., Bismarck, ND (701-751-3949), provided engineering and site layout services.

• Big Sky Civil & Environmental, Inc., Great Falls, MT (406-727-2185), served as the civil engineer.

• Allen Construction, Flandreau, SD (605-864-1828), erected the two GSI tanks measuring 90 feet in diameter, 109 feet at the peaks, and 85 feet at the eaves. The tanks were built with additional wind stiffeners.

Both of the steel tanks are equipped with four 60-hp GSI centrifugal fans to supply 1/X cfm per bushel of aeration, BinMaster Smart Bob level indicators, Rolfes@Boone 17-cable grain temperature monitoring systems, and Sioux Steel Daay bin paddle sweeps.

A new 25,000-bph Schlagel drag conveyor carries grain from the work-house to the new tanks. The drag is supported by a 6-foot-wide-x-250-foot-long Warrior catwalk.

Grain is reclaimed from the steel tanks by a 50,000-bph Hi Roller enclosed belt conveyor, which sends grain to an existing 50,000-bph load-out leg and an InterSystems 50,000-bph bulk weigh scale for rail loadout.

Anderson says the terminal is able to accommodate up to 125-car shuttle trains on the BNSF, but “the average shuttle size is around 115 cars, which we can load in about 7-1/2 hours.”

Tucker Scharfenberg, associate editor