Facility Feature
Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. Adds Dedicated Storage For Soybeans

New 1.6 million-bushel steel annex at Ludlow Coop Elevator Co.'s rail terminal north of Paxton, IL dedicated to soybeans.

Illinois Coop Builds 1.6 Million-Bushel Steel Annex at Its Big Rail Terminal

Paxton, IL — For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its March 2018 planting forecast predicted that producers would plant more acres to soybeans than to corn across the United States.

For now at least, farmers are calculating that soybeans are more profitable to grow than corn or any other grain crop. That doesn’t take into account any potential trade war with China, but at this point, it’s hard to predict what a 25% tariff on soybeans would do to the price per bushel compared to other crops.

Crop acreage or trade wars weren’t on the map yet when the managers at Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. and its board of directors made plans to build a 1.6-million-bushel steel annex dedicated to soybeans at their big rail terminal north of Paxton, IL in 2017.

“We’ve been taking in more bushels at Paxton,” says General Manager Paul Seaman, who has been in that position since 2014. Not only will this provide space to handle more soybeans, he says, but during harvest and other busy times, it will free up space for other commodities such as wet corn elsewhere at the facility.

In addition, the coop also wanted to speed up receiving for producers who must drive relatively long distances to reach the Paxton terminal.

Storage centers on pair of 800,000-bushel Chief steel tanks

Ludlow Coop put out the project for bids and selected Growmark Commercial Construction, Bloomington, IL (309-557-6336), which has done work for the coop in the past, as general contractor and millwright on the project. Other major subcontrators:

  • SKS Engineers LLC, Decatur, IL (217-877-2100), did engineering work on the project.
  • KDJ Sales & Service Inc., Mackinaw, IL (309-359-3611), was the electrical contractor.
  • U.S. Grain Storage Systems Inc., Dike, IA (800-901-5560), erected the steel storage tanks.
  • Craig’s Concrete Inc., Gilman, IL (815-265-7355), poured the foundations and stem walls.

Work on the project began in March 2017 and was completed by late September.

Soybean storage consists of a pair of Chief 800,000-bushel corrugated steel tanks. The tanks stand 99 feet tall at the eaves and 128 feet tall at the peaks. To handle the stress when fully loaded, the tanks have triple sidewalls eight rings up from the bottom.

The tanks are outfitted with outside stiffeners, flat floors, Daay bin paddle sweeps (the first time the coop has used them), 24-cable Rolfes@Boone grain temperature monitoring systems, and 40,000-bph GSI/AgriDry grain spreaders. A set of four 60-hp Chief Agri centrifugal fans per tank deliver approximately 1/7 cfm per bushel of aeration.

A Lowry 1,000-bushel mechanical receiving pit arrived preassembled at the construction site. The pit feeds a GSI 30,000-bph dual-drive receiving leg equipped with two rows of 4B 16x8 buckets mounted on an 36-inch belt and two100-hp WEG motors. The leg is enclosed in an Allstate support tower, which also includes an Alimak Hek rack and pinion-style manlift.

The leg deposits grain into a Premier Components three-way valve, which sends it to storage via 30,000-bph GSI enclosed belt conveyors or via gravity spout to a 6,500-bushel Sukup overhead surge tank for truck loading.

For reclaiming grain, the new tanks have no sidedraws. Instead, they empty onto a 40,000-bph GSI enclosed belt conveyor in an above-ground tunnel. This, in turn, connects with existing grain handling equipment that carries grain to other parts of the facility or to rail loadout.

Seaman notes that Ludlow Coop has more construction plans for 2018, with the addition of more storage at a branch elevator in La Hogue, IL.

Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. General Manager Paul Seaman (left) and Paxton Location Manager Myron Rust.

Company Profile, Ludlow Coop Elevator Co.

  • Ludlow, IL • 217-396-4111
  • Founded: 1904
  • Storage capacity: 17 million bushels at eight locations
  • Annual volume: 22 million bushels
  • Number of members: 1,000
  • Number of employees: 29
  • Crops handled: Corn, soybeans, soft red winter wheat
  • Services: Grain handling and merchandising

Key personnel at Paxton:

  • Paul Seaman, general manager
  • Myron Rust, location manager

Supplier List

  • Aeration fans • Chief Agri
  • Bin sweeps • Sioux Steel Co.
  • Bucket elevators • GSI
  • Catwalks • Allstate Tower Inc.
  • Concrete • Craig’s Concrete Inc.
  • Contractor • Growmark Commercial Construction
  • Conveyors • GSI
  • Electrical contractor • KDJ Sales & Service Inc.
  • Elevator buckets • 4B Components Ltd.
  • Engineering • SKS Engineers LLC
  • Grain spreader • GSI/AgriDry
  • Grain temperature system • Rolfes@Boone
  • Manlift • Alimak Hek Inc.
  • Millwright • Growmark Commercial Construction
  • Motors • WEG
  • Receiving pits • Lowry Mfg. Co.
  • Speed reducers • Dodge
  • Spouting • Premier Components Inc.
  • Steel storage • Chief Agri, Sukup Mfg. Co.
  • Steel tank erection • U.S. Grain Storage Systems
  • Tower support system • Allstate Tower Inc.
  • Valves • Premier Components

- Ed Zdrojewski, editor

Reprinted from GRAIN JOURNAL May/June 2018 Issue

Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. Paxton

  • Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. Paxton GSI conveyor
  • Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. Allstate tower Kava valvue Alimak Heck manlift
  • Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. Paxton aerial
  • Ludlow Elevator Coop Co. Seaman Rust
  • Ludlow Coop Elevator Co. Paxton aerial2

In This Issue

Grain Journal May/June 2018

View this feature and more in the Grain Journal May/June 2018 magazine.