Fifteen years ago, Don Kittler was
a lot like other farmers in the flat Delta country around Carlisle, AR, producing rice,
soybeans, and wheat in rotation. Since then,
however, hes become a model for diversification, expanding into a variety of new
conditioning, selling and shipping specialty grains.
- Building on-farm
grain storage and handling systems as a local dealer for the GSI Group, Assumption, IL (www.grainsystems.com)
K & K Farm Service, Inc.s most recent venture has
been growing, conditioning, and shipping specialty grains for niche markets. Premiums over conventional grains are paid,
depending on the type and overall quality of the grain.
Several years ago, Don Kittler purchased a small elevator for
handling specialty soybeans. By the beginning
of 2000, he had 8,000 acres of area farmland under contract to produce natto soybeans. The existing facility simply lacked enough storage
capacity to handle the volume of soybeans under contract.
In February 2000, K & K Farm Service,
Inc., acting as its own contractor, began construction of an all-steel 250,000-bushel
elevator north of Carlisle to handle the increased volume.
The facility was finished in July, 2000.
Due to increased demand, this facility's capacity has since been increased
to 320,000 bu.
Storage consists of four 60,000-bushel GSI
corrugated steel tanks, standing 48 feet in diameter and 55 feet tall at the eaves. The flat-bottom tanks are equipped with 10-inch
GSI sweep augers.
Four of the
six tanks are equipped with two
30-hp GSI centrifugal fans capable of generating 1/5 cfm per bushel aeration, while the
other two have 60-hp fans that can produce ½ cfm per bushel.
Incoming wagons and trucks empty soybeans
into a small 300-bushel receiving pit.
Instead of conventional legs and conveyors,
however, grain handling is accomplished with a 10-inch diameter grain loop
traveling above, below, and to either side of the facility.
The grain loop, manufactured by the former David Mfg. Co. (acquired by GSI
in 2000), acts as a continuous drag conveyor, using chain-mounted paddles to move the
soybeans to and from storage tanks. This was
not only less expensive than legs and conveyors but was also gentler on the grain.
Grain is unloaded into a 3,500-bushel surge
tank, mounted between two tanks. Then it is trucked two miles to K & K Farm
Service, Inc.s in-town facility for processing.
From there the grain is shipped in bulk containers
via rail and oceangoing vessels for export.
taken from Grain Journal Magazine, 2001