Keeping Pace: Encompass Grain and Rail

Encompass Grain and Rail increases speed and efficiency of three Central Illinois elevators

By Mark Avery

In 2022, Encompass Grain & Rail Co-op in Delavan, IL devised a three-year plan to increase the speed and efficiency at three of its seven locations across Central Illinois.

According to General Manager Kris Roberts, with the size and speed of today’s farmers, “We needed to be faster and more efficient.”

However, after transferring 2.5 million bushels during the fall of 2022 for rail shipment, Roberts says the coop knew a fast harvest in 2023 would force it close its facilities for new grain.

“That scenario forced us to speed up our plans to build the three projects in 2023,” explains Roberts, who has been with the coop for five years.

“The extra 1.5 million bushels of storage the projects gave us,” he says, “meant we didn’t have to load trains at harvest and could take advantage of the carry in the market.”

“The new tanks also freed up our coop’s trucks to work with the farmers at harvest rather than transferring grain between our own elevators,” Roberts says.

To get the $6.5 million project done in a timely fashion, Encompass hired Grain Flo, Inc., Heyworth, IL, as the contractor and millwright.

Grain Flo has completed several projects for the coop over the years including a major upgrade at its Allen Station train-loading facility in 2019.

“Grain Flo did a good job laying out the projects,” says Roberts, “and helping us plan for the future at each site.”


Like at Greenview, the New Holland facility also added a 788,000-bushel GSI steel tank.

Greenview, IL

Increasing the facility’s handling speed was the goal with the Greenview project.

According to Roberts, one new 20,000-bph pit was added along with an 10-foot-x-72-foot outbound scale. An AGRIS oneWeigh RFID truck scale system was also added. “We can now get a farmer scale-in to scale-out in six minutes,” says Roberts.

The centerpiece of the project at the 3.3-million-bushel elevator was a 788,000-bushel GSI steel tank.

The 105-foot-diameter tank is 98 feet to the eave and 126 feet to the peak with outside stiffeners.

The tank has four 60-hp Decatur Aeration centrifugal fans providing 1/8 cfm per bushel. It also has a 24-cable Rolfes@Boone grain temperature system. A GSI 10,000-bph bin sweep assists with cleanout.

The tank is filled by a 20,000-bph GSI drag conveyor which is fed by a 20,000-bph GSI bucket elevator that was installed in 2022.

The tank doesn’t have truck spouts but is emptied by a 5,000-bph GSI drag conveyor back to the bucket elevator.

New Holland, IL

At New Holland, Roberts says wet corn was the challenge. “We can dump 300,000 bushels a day here, but we only had 160,000 bushels of wet space. The new 788,000-bushel tank can be used for wet corn, giving us much more flexibility.”

Grain Flo constructed an identical 788,000-bushel GSI steel tank, upping the site’s storage capacity to 4.2 million bushels.

The tank is filled by a 25,000-bph AGI Hi Roller enclosed belt conveyor. It is supported by a 6-foot-wide-x-132-foot structural steel truss and catwalk and two 132-foot-tall leg towers.

Grain is reclaimed by two truck spouts and by a 10,000-bph below-ground GSI en-masse conveyor.


New pit and GSI leg at Teheran, IL boosted the elevator’s handling capacity to 40,000 bph.

Teheran, IL

The plan at Teheran, says Roberts, was for improved efficiency. “We had an old wood house and a slow leg,” he explains.

“We increased the pit and leg capacity from 10,000 bph to 20,000 bph, which helped moved the facility’s overall handling capacity to 40,000 bph,” he says.

“We also added a PLC to automate the elevator,” says Roberts. “which alleviates labor shortages.”

The project at the 2.2-million-bushel elevator started with Lee Farms Excavating tearing down an old wood elevator.

Grain Flo then erected a 26-foot-x-30-foot-x-24-foot steel dump shed building with a 16-foot-x-30-foot 1,000-bushel dump pit for unloading semitrucks.

A 20,000-bph Sukup drag conveyor then feeds a 20,000-bph GSI bucket elevator inside a 14-foot-x-foot-14-foot-x-165-foot LeMar support tower. Grain goes through a Schlagel distributor which feeds either two existing 90-foot tanks by spout, an 178-foot-long AGI Hi Roller 20,000-bph enclosed belt conveyor to tanks on the south side of the facility, or a new 16-foot-diameter Schuld/Bushnell 5,000-bushel welded tank for truck loadout.

A Sidney two-person, 500-pound special purpose elevator was installed inside the support tower.