Are Elevators Prepared for a Big Crop?

06:38AM Sep 02, 2014

This year’s crop isn’t just pegged to be a big one, but it has potential to be the biggest crop on record. That’s making some wonder if elevators will be able to keep up this fall.

Illinois Farmer David O’Brien has one thing on his mind. Over the last month, he’s been trying to plan for a big crop come fall.

"We thought about what we have to deal with and analyzed what we have for storage," said Le Roy, Illinois farmer, David O’Brien.

Keeping his combine rolling shouldn’t be a problem. It’s whether a record-breaking crop will fill bins to the brim.

"There will be big lines. It's inevitable. It's just a big crop," said O’Brien.

MaxYield Cooperative in Mallard, Iowa is one elevator company planning ahead to reduce those big lines by expanding and renting extra space.

"We have expanded this facility by 725,000 bushels of storage. We also rented 375,000 bushel storage at new bin site," said MaxYield Cooperative Grain Team Leader, Harry Bormann.

Grain Team Leader Harry Bormann says this bin is one of a four-bin complex with extra drying capacity system. It’s a start, so they’re ready to tackle whatever yield comes at them this fall.

"That's why we geared up for 20,000 per bushel an hour. Our goal is to have farmers in and out of here in 7 to 10 minutes," said Bormann.

Bormann is anticipating a record but doesn’t think storage will be an issue in his area because of low land flooding in early June.

"We're concerned right now in this area whether we're going to fill the bin because we've had so much drowned out," said Bormann.

But some elevators say if there is a concern this fall, it would be a drying capacity issue instead of a space issue.

"We had a cool, wet summer. If I look back in July, we tied as a state for the coolest state average which goes back to 2009," said The Anderson’s Incorporated Sales Manager, Brian Stark.

Back then in 2009, The Anderson’s Incorporated Champaign, Illinois location harvest through January. One reason Regional Sales Manager, Brian Stark is not just anticipating a big crop this year, but a wet one too.

"Across the Corn Belt in 2009, we saw elevators running half-days because you can only push so much corn through the dryer in a 24-hour period," said Stark.

Stark says his 12.5 Million bushel bins and 3.5 Million bushels of ground space should be enough. It’s a question if farmers have to wait in line to dry once again.

"I don't think we're nearly as behind as maturity schedule as we were back then," said Stark.

O’Brien isn’t worried about space.

"I don't think they will run out of space. They'll find a place to put it," said O’Brien.

But he knows he can’t plan for lines at the dryer.

"It's going to be a lot of bushels and they're going to be wet. One way or another it's going to be a big crop and the dryers will be a bottleneck," said O’Brien.

Both Stark and Bormann have suggestions to prevent some headaches this fall. Stark suggests if farmers have good stands and strength in their stalks to let the corn dry down before taking it to the bin. Bormann’s advice is to tell elevators where the grain is coming from in advance and to use remote ticket printers.