Grain bins erected at new Madison facility
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
Workers constructed eight steel grain bins this week at the new grain-drying facility on Madison's west side, and they'll continue working on other equipment at the site to make it ready for the 2013 wheat harvest.|
Terry Wastweet, owner of American Edge Grain, and Don Jacoby, a partner and board member for the Fargo, N.D.-based company, visited the construction site Friday morning and inspected the six drying bins and two grain storage bins that make up the heart of the operation.
Last week, the construction process had advanced to the completion of the concrete foundations upon which the eight bins currently stand.
Wastweet said American Edge Grain's goal was to have the bins and other equipment prepped and ready to dry harvested wheat. AEG serves as the managing company for the local facility, in which Madison BinCity LLC will hold the title as the facility's owner.
According to Wastweet, farmers to the north and west of Lake County will provide most of the wheat that the facility will dry.
Workers managed by the project's main contractor, Gateway Building Systems of West Fargo, N.D., still need to construct a truck scale, a scale operator's building, an electrical shed and other structures at the site located just southwest of Madison Farmers Elevator.
While constructing the grain bins, the construction crew had at one point expanded to 70 workers. According to Wastweet, the crews building individual bins ranged from 11 to 22 workers.
Wastweet said each of the two storage bins should hold the contents of the six drying bins. The facility's operators -- under the supervision of on-site manager Steve Armour -- should have the capability of filling the drying bins, running through the drying process, filling the first and then the second storage bins, and then filling the drying bins for a third "turn" at grain drying.
Wastweet predicted that the new Madison facility won't grow into its full operation until the local corn harvest arrives. He described its operation as "a bit greener (environmentally)" than the typical grain-drying operations that use natural gas or propane to heat grain while conducting their drying processes.
The Madison BinCity facility will use a fan system to force air through the grain in the drying bins, drying the corn, wheat or other grain through the process of respiration.
"The grain will have its moisture released more naturally," Wastweet said.
The respiration process does take a longer amount of time to complete the grain drying, but it also offers advantages including better quality grain kernels that have fewer problems such as cracking.
The new facility was constructed on the site, which had provided the location for the old Wenk's poultry and egg production facility.