Friday, May 16, 2014

Farmer’s Cooperative Company, Shelia Hebenstreit, Gowrie and Farnhamville, IA - Friday, May 16th, 2014

Sheila Hebenstreit, Field Agronomist, (in center) providing a tour of the seed treatment facility. 

Touring the "bullet", which is the storage container for bulk anhydrous ammonia  fertilizer.
The small tank in the background is a "nurse tank", which is used to transport the anhydrous to the field
where it will be injected into the ground. The anhydrous is 82% nitrogen and is the cheapest form of
nitrogen fertilizer.  

Enjoying the sunshine at the grain elevator.

A view of the 9 million bushel capacity FC grain elevator in Farnhamville location.  

Andrew and Jen sizing up the grain silo. 
“Together We Can” is the slogan for FC or Farmer’s Co-op, a fertilizer and grain dealer that his multiple locations across Iowa. At FC’s location in Gowrie, Iowa we toured their plant that sold all types of fertilizers, chemicals, in addition to renting the machinery that applies fertilizers and chemicals. Anhydrous ammonia is the most popular form of nitrogen added to fields and is done by dragging “knives” through the field about 8 inches below the surface where a hose can then inject the gaseous ammonia into the ground along with N-serve, a product that inhibits the nitrification of the NH3.

The Gowrie plant also sells seed units, a seed unit consists of 140,000 seeds for soybeans and 80,000 seeds for corn. About 1 to 1.2 units are needed to plant an acre of soybeans and 0.4 units are needed to plant an acre of corn. With about 10,000 soybean units and 5,000 corn units on hand at any point, they are able to provide a lot of seeds to farmers! This location also stores 8 massive herbicide tanks that contain just less than 40,000 gallons of herbicides such as Round Up.

After touring the Gowrie location for about an hour and a half we then took a short ride over to Farnhamville, IA where FC owns a grain storage unit. This large grain and fertilizer plant can house over 9 million bushels at full capacity! After seeing a literal mountain of corn in the flat house storage unit I was shocked to hear that the corn they collect only comes from an 8 mile radius around the plant. The scale of agriculture really began to come together when the manager of the grainery  began talking of 3 other grain storage units that they compete with, all within a 20-mile radius. The grain is dumped into a pit and then a computer controls an auger that moves the grain to any silo on site. Once the grain is stored in a silo it can be shipped via truck or onto a railcar by an overhanging grain tube that hangs above the railtracks that run right next to the plant. This location also has a large storage house for fertilizers that are stored in concrete rooms and can then be transported by augers and belts above the storage bins, mixed, and dumped from an overhanging tube into a waiting truck below.
-         - Joey

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