Elevator adds space in Hillsboro

Staff writer

Cooperative Grain and Supply in Hillsboro is expanding. Those driving by have been witnessing a concrete pillar steadily growing taller since early July.

Now crews from McPherson Concrete Products are nearly finished with the 160-foot high walls. Cooperative Grain supervisor Dick Tippin said the new silo should be complete in late August and ready for use by mid-September.

The silo, with construction costs of around $1 million, will hold 305,000 bushels of grain and give the elevator the capacity to handle larger harvests, which elevator manager Lyman Adams said has been growing steadily.

“Farmers are growing more bushels per acre, which increases the bushels we have to store,” he said. “This way we’ll have a better capability to handle harvest internally rather than shipping grain elsewhere.”

Tippin said he is excited for the expansion and the opportunities it allows businesses. The new silo and the above-ground storage facility will allow the elevator to store nearly 1.6 million bushels of grain.

The silo is the fourth of its size built by Cooperative in Marion and Hillsboro since 2007.

It will rest on underground concrete pilings poured 60 feet into the ground for stability. Also it will feature 9½ inch-thick walls, reinforced with two facings of rebar to prevent cracking or breaking.

To construct the walls, crews must hoist ¼ yard of concrete at a time by a bucket into a cart that pivots and pours concrete into forms. The 4-foot-tall forms are “leapfrogged” around the silo, project manager Nathan Rowson with McPherson Concrete said.

“We use a mix that sets up quickly so we can pour three times a day,” he said.

The work is hot, slow, and not for those afraid of heights. Once the walls are complete, Rowson’s crew will anchor metal joists and place metal decking over them. The decking is then covered with concrete.

“In the race to get ahead of the higher yield curve, this is one small step,” Adams said. “It’s possible there will be more in the future.”

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