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South Dakota co-op expanding

SISSETON, S.D. -- There's a bigger story behind that big pile of corn east of Sisseton, S.D.

Sisseton Farmers Co-op is one of nine elevators in the Wheaton-Dumont Co-op Elevator group. The company has had shuttle services on the Canadian Pacific railroad in Tenney, Minn., for years, but now is thinning its risk by investing in a new 120-car loader on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in Graceville, Minn., says manager Philip Deal of Wheaton.

Deal says the new facility will include 5 million bushels of upright steel storage, and 2.5 million in storage piled outside. The goal of the expansion is to reduce the outside storage at all of the companys facilities, but Deal acknowledges that if the 2012 production repeats itself, "we'll have piles all over the place."

The combined facilities currently have 16 million bushels of storage under roofs, but still had to put 10 million bushels out on piles, including 1 million bushels at the Sisseton facility. "It was roughly double the amount of grain we've ever had out before," Deal says. Of the total, about 7.5 million bushels were corn and the rest beans.

"We're down to maybe 500,000 bushels of beans, and 3.5 million bushels of corn," Deal says. "We've had good conditions (for storing the grain) -- not much snow to deal with, and stable weather. The grain's been coming up (out of the piles) in excellent shape."

Hopeful for next year

Deal says people in his trade area are optimistic about 2013.

"They're coming off easily the biggest crop they've ever had," he says. "It wasn't like they got a lot of rain this year. But timing is everything. They had a nice crop and some have had some fall moisture. We haven't rebuilt our usual levels of moisture. It's a little dry, but people are very optimistic and looking forward to next year."