Gathman agrees: “In today’s agriculture, speed is critical, and if you don’t have that speed, they’ll drive away and sell their grain down the road.”
As trucks enter the facility, trucks come in across an 80' x 12' Mettler Toledo Scale, and the grain is sampled using an Apollo probe; it is then run through Dickey-john moisture testing equipment. The corn or soybeans flow over to one of two 500-bushel pits, where the grain drops into 10,000-bushels/hour Intersystems’ incline conveyors, tied to two 10,000-bushels/hour receiving legs and at the top three 15,000-bushels/hour cross conveyors. The catwalking and tower equipment was built by Buresh Building Systems. The grain is delivered to one of three 78' x 59' Sukup steel bins or a 30,000-bushel Sukup wet holding tank. The elevator utilizes two Meridian 6,000-bushel overhead load-out tanks.
Once everything is weighed and the ticket has been issued, it uses Oakland Corporation’s accounting and grain software package to manage all of the cooperative’s grain and financial transactions.
All software is managed by the Oakland Corp. and is tied through a wireless link to its server in Pella. The co-op utilizes OPI-integris temperature monitors in the bins; aeration equipment is controlled remotely from the Pella location.
First harvest in operation
In 2011 the spring delivered serious flooding in southern Iowa, delaying planting and putting some fields out of commission for the entire planting season. This resulted in lighter yields and less volume come harvest. Though it got a late start, the Two Rivers’ Tracy elevator took in 250,000 bushels of corn and 200,000 bushels of beans. During a normal crop year, Gathman feels the facility will handle 600,000 bushels of corn and 350,000 bushels of beans.
Overall, Two Rivers Cooperative brought in 2.5 million bushels of corn and 1.5 million bushels of beans; it runs 5.5 million corn and 2 million soybeans annually.
As to be expected, investment in this area is a win-win for the farmers and lightened the pressure of incoming loads at the Pella elevator. The new facility also allowed the co-op to move grain out of other locations, accept grain throughout harvest without any delays or ground piles, and eliminated the need to rent terminal storage.
Gathman feels the new site made a big difference to producers in this area by helping them with a better marketing opportunity by increasing the price of corn in this area 10 cents and beans by 12 cents.
“It’s going to take time to build a strong customer base and we’ll have to earn their business, but over time I think we will,” he says. “Coming to Tracy, we knew we had enough of our own members traveling 10 or 15 miles to work with us, and we wanted to take care of our customer base in this area, too.”