New 2.6 million-bushel Agridome at West Central Ag Services in Beltrami, MI.
With an average annual snowfall of 43 inches – in some years starting before fall harvest is completed – Beltrami, MN can be a challenging place to maintain grain quality in a temporary ground pile.
Bryan Mueller, grain manager at the West Central Ag Services elevator in Beltrami (218-926-5522), knows all about managing a 2.6-million-bushel temporary storage pile through challenging fall, winter, and spring weather.
That pile stands 350 feet in diameter on an asphalt base with a Warrior Mfg. center fill tower topped by four 50-hp AGI Airlanco centrifugal fans that keep the tarp in place, sometimes in blizzard conditions all too frequently in northwest Minnesota’s Red River Valley.
“I was looking into building a flat storage building as a replacement, but those can be expensive,” Mueller says. “That’s when I ran across Geometrica, Inc., which offered a less expensive alternative while retaining the infrastructure we already had in place.”
Francisco “Pancho” Castano, CEO of Geometrica, Cypress, TX (832-220-1200), says this is the first project his firm has completed for an agricultural customer.
“We mainly produce our domes for the mining, power plant, and cement industries,” he says.
Geometrica manufactures dome coverings for existing infrastructure made from a tubular galvanized-steel frame and corrugated steel coverings, with components manufactured at its plant in Monterrey, Mexico. For agricultural customers, the company is calling its product the AgridomeTM.
“We’ve been building domes like these for more than 25 years, and the core strengths of our business – world-class quality and long-span technology – are now translating into improved profit potential and efficiency for ag operations,” says Castano.
To construct the Agridome at its ground pile in Beltrami, West Central selected Walt Johnson Construction and Crane Service Inc., Alexandria, MN (320-763-9005), as general contractor.
“They’ve done all of our expansions over the last 10 years,” says West Central’s Mueller.
In addition, VAA, LLC, Plymouth, MN (763-559-9100), completed the structural engineering for the Agridome foundation and reclaim tunnel and general arrangement/equipment layout drawings for the project.
Groundwork for the Agridome began on June 15, and actual construction began Sept. 7. Because of the steep slopes involved, the construction crew made extensive use of personal protective equipment, especially fall protection.
The project was completed without injuries, and West Central began filling the dome prior to Dec. 1.
“The dome is primarily meant for corn, but for now, we’re using it to store hard red spring wheat,” Mueller says.
The Agridome sits atop a 10-foot-tall concrete sidewall. It measures 350 feet in diameter and is 90 feet tall at the peak. A set of 20 Rolfes@Boone axial fans around the base of the dome provide aeration through perforated polyethylene tubing. The dome also includes a 22-cable AGI CMC grain temperature monitoring system.
The rest of the storage system remains unchanged from the existing ground pile. These include an asphalt base and a 700-foot GSI InterSystems 30,000-bph overhead enclosed belt conveyor in a Warrior box bridge that carries grain from the main elevator to the Warrior center fill tower.
The dome will be emptied by front-end loaders pushing grain through five sumps into a below-ground Brock 30,000-bph enclosed belt conveyor. That feeds a 30,000-bph GSI inclined drag conveyor that brings the grain up out of the below-ground tunnel. The inclined conveyor feeds a GSI 30,000-bph bucket elevator. which empties into an AGI Hi Roller 30,000-bph enclosed belt conveyor that reclaims back to the elevator.
Ed Zdrojewski, editor
From the January/February 2021 GRAIN JOURNAL
View this case study and more in the Grain Journal January February 2021 magazine.