New South Dakota elevator built for 'high speed moving of grain,' company says

by Teresa Acklin
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   WOLSEY, SOUTH DAKOTA, U.S. — A new grain elevator operated by South Dakota Wheat Growers began operations recently in Wolsey.

   Built at a cost of about U.S.$7 million, the Wolsey elevator is one of the most automated grain elevators in the United States, according to Michael Salonen, grain department manager for South Dakota Wheat Growers in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

   The elevator can store about 45,000 tonnes of corn, soybeans and wheat, and can move more than 400,000 tonnes of grain a year with the help of only five employees, Mr. Salonen said. β€œIt's built for high speed moving of grain — in and out,” he said.

   The facility includes two 500-tph dump pits. A 110-car train can be loaded in less than 15 hours, Mr. Salonen said — about one-third the time it used to take to load a train half that size.

   The Wolsey facility is the first new grain elevator built by the company since the mid-1980s, Mr. Salonen said. According to the β€œ1999 Grain and Milling Annual,” published by World Grain, South Dakota Wheat Growers is the 63rd-largest grain company in North America, with about 320,000 tonnes of licensed grain storage capacity in 20 facilities.

   The company also is building a 110-car loading elevator in Mellette, South Dakota, about 60 miles away. More row-crop production in the region has created the need for the larger elevators, Mr. Salonen said.

   The Wolsey elevator is located on the main line of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad, giving farmers better access to export terminals in the Pacific Northwest and other West Coast markets, Mr. Salonen said.