Moving Mountains

Dec 01, 2023

Colton Voga
Grain Merchandiser

It’s that time of year! Time to circle the Peterbilts, Kenworths and Volvos and grease up the excavators – we’re picking up the grain piles across Key!

At many of our locations, you see giant white mountains of corn tucked under tarps. We currently have about 8.5 million bushels of corn on the ground. Fortunately, we were able to sell a few trains out of Nevada during harvest to prevent another estimated two million bushels from having to be put on the ground.

Our unit trains consist of 110 cars and can hold approximately 430,000 bushels of corn. We also load sets of 25 cars out of our Newton Rail Center that hold approximately 95,000 bushels of corn. We rely heavily on rail sales when picking up piles because they allow us to move high volumes at a fast pace. Sometimes grain from the piles goes directly on railcars and sometimes we use our rail sales to open bin space.

We are currently picking up a small 200,000 bushel pile in Nevada that served as overflow storage (as shown in the video below). With the good weather and knowing that we were going to pick it up right away, we decided not to tarp it. We can pick up piles pretty quickly. For example, we will have this pile picked up in just shy of two days with only two trucks. The buckets on the excavators we use hold about 250 - 300 bushels. It takes roughly four scoops to fill a truck, making short work of picking up piles. So, as you drive around the countryside, you will start to see these mountains disappearing as we move throughout the winter and into spring.

Moving the Nevada Grain Pile

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