Shuttle elevator comes to Bucyrus

Ground has broken for a new grain elevator near Bucyrus off of Highway 12.

Work continues on the new 110-car shuttle elevator being constructed near Bucyrus. The eight concrete bins, which will hold 1 million bushels of grain, are expected to be slipped early next month.

Posted August 10, 2012


Record Editor


Ground has broken for a new grain elevator near Bucyrus off of Highway 12.

“There will 8 bins and we will have the capacity to hold 1 million bushels,” said Tony Flagg, vice president of development at United Grain.

The site will encompass 240 acres, including 8,000 feet of loop rail track.

Currently underway is the “dirt work” said Flagg, which starts with driving the pilings that will keep the elevator from settling, then building the road and the rail bed for the train track.

Once the roads are in, a five-foot thick concrete pad will be poured and the elevator built on top of it.

“It’s due to be ‘slipped’ in September (the concrete bins poured) and in October the other equipment such as legs, conveyors, scales and rest of the elevator will be finished.”

United Grain will be responsible for the entire infrastructure needed to complete the project.

“We have also turned in a transportation analysis to the Department of Transportation for rebuilding 6th Avenue,” said Flagg.

The company is concerned when a train is on the track, and a couple of trucks may be backed up waiting it could cause an accident. They would like to put passing lanes on both sides, in addition to realigning 6th Street so it crosses the railroad at right angles.

“We consider it a safety hazard as it is, and want to be able to have good visibility at all points,” he said.


Just grain, no sand

The elevator will be focused on wheat.

“There have been rumors we will eventually be unloading sand for fracking, and that is not in our plans,” said Flagg. “First of all we don’t have the physical space to do it,” he said. “We would also need to change our conditional use permit with the county, and we are a very focused company.

“We aren’t into seeding or chemicals -we are focused on grain origination, logistics and exportation.”

The shuttle train is comprised of 110-grain cars, which is what the railroad wants. If all goes well, 400,000 bushels ( a full train) can be loaded in about 10 hours.

“This is what the railroad wants – drop it off, a quick turn around, pick it up,” said Flagg.

He said they hope to take in between 8 and 10 million bushels of wheat a year, which would be about 25 trains a year. The elevator equipment itself is all state-of-the-art and doesn’t require a large crew to man the elevator. According to Flagg when all is said and done about five full-time employees will be hired, with extra, temporary help during trains and harvest.

While the focus is on wheat, the elevator is being built with the capacity to take in and dry corn at some time in the future if the corn market and production continues to increase in the area, said Flagg.

“Right now we will be taking spring wheat and durum. If the canola continues to grow in the area and develops an export market we could take a look at that also down the line,” he said.

United Grain is not connected in any way to Cenex Harvest States, which has pretty much a monopoly in the area through Southwest Grain Co-ops.

Flagg said they “have a good relationship with Southwest grain.

“And competition makes it good for the producer, more competition for their bushels.”

Since 1969, United Grain has run the larges export facility in Vancouver, Wash., where their home office is located, and has been either number one or number two in wheat exportation in the Pacific Northwest.

United Grain also owns elevators in Moccasin, Pompey’s Pillar and is in the process of building additional ones in Conrad and Culbertson, all in Montana.