As always, the field demonstrations will certainly be a popular attraction at the Farm Science Review but this year, the demos will quite literally be overshadowed by an impressive new grain storage setup towering over the crop fields.
The construction project kicked off May 19 at the storage site, located in the middle of the Molly Caren Agricultural Center. The project will add 90% to the existing storage capacity, said Chuck Gamble, manager of the Farm Science Review.
“We’ve had the need for additional storage capacity for many, many years,” Gamble said. “We’re updating the facilities with the latest technology and infrastructure in grain handling and storage, which our attendees will take great interest in at this year’s show.”
The renovation project is being headed up by MRC Sales and Service, of London — a longtime exhibitor and supporter of the Farm Science Review.
“Mike Miller and his staff have done a phenomenal job working on this project,” Gamble said. “Without a doubt, this system will provide an important component to our overall objective of becoming a world-class farm show.”
Thomas & Marker Construction, of Columbus, is serving as the general contractor for the project. While immediate updates to the storage facilities will be finished by this year’s show, the project will have a lasting impact on storage capacity for the next 20 to 25 years, with plenty of room to grow
“Looking to the future as yields continue to increase, grain storage is a long-term investment that gives farmers flexibility from a marketing standpoint when they can control the number of bushels they store,” Gamble said. “We’re in a long-term business with a growing population; storage capacity is essential to feeding 9 billion people by 2050.”
The Farm Science Review plants 600 acres of corn and 600 acres of soybeans each year with harvest getting started during the show’s field demonstrations, weather permitting. Last year’s corn crop averaged 220 bushels per acre and soybeans averaged 60 bushels per acre. The farm also typically plants around 120 acres of wheat each year, which averaged 93 bushels per acre in 2013.
According to Nate Douridas, farm manager, updates to the storage facilities include:
- A Brock commercial corn bin with the capacity to hold 55,000 bushels, expandable to 72,000 bushels.
- A 46,000-bushel capacity Brock commercial soybean bin, replacing an outdated, 10,000-bushel capacity bin.
- Improved ventilation through the bin floors by using eave aeration with a variable speed fan to convert single-phase electricity to three-phase electricity.
- A Union Iron state-of-the-art tower with no guide wires, adding stability and safety to the entire structure.
- HSI Systems 105-foot grain leg for soybeans, replacing a 60-foot leg.
- A Honeyville Metal Inc. distributor.
- Automated Lowry DumPit, allowing soybean dumping to be more convenient and efficient.
“Farmers have been using pits to dump their soybeans for several years now, but automated dumping is the next big thing in order to achieve high capacity,” Douridas said. “This update is a major advantage there as far as getting the crop out of the field in a timely manner, marketing and grain quality. We seem to be harvesting more crops in shorter harvest windows and getting the grain out of the field faster and storing it at harvest is a big deal.”
As of mid-August, it appears that a good-sized crop will be ready in the fields for the show.
“The 2014 growing season has been a challenge, but I think we have a really good crop coming. The most difficult part was deciding when it would be time to plant in the spring after a cold, cold winter. We were waiting for soil temperatures to warm up and looking at the forecast all of April and May to get a strategy. We decided to start planting on April 26 and 27 and we got some corn in the ground that should be timely for demos at the show,” Douridas said. “We were out a few days and started again in early May and got the rest of the corn and beans done for the demos. Then we continued on with the rest of the production acres on the farm. We had everything planted by late May. We have had adequate rainfall. We were not hurt too much by rainfall — we never had any drowning rains. But, we could really use a rain here in August. With14 days in August we have been dry for 15 days. We need rain to help the beans and keep the corn moving along.”
On the Ohio Crop Tour stop in Madison County, the 100-day corn at the Farm Science Review was sampled. The field was planted on April 26 and was just entering the dent stage. The yield estimate was 195 bushels per acre.
Along with the new grain storage facilities, Farm Science Review visitors can also expect to see the popular field demonstrations at this year’s event.
“They can come and see the Ohio Land Improvement Contractors of America putting in drain tile. They’ll be doing almost 50 acres of ditching. Some of that will be new tile in fields with no existing tile, most of it is replacement of outdated systems and one of those fields will include control drainage structures,” Douridas said. “We are going to have planters return so they can see the planters participate in field demonstrations. Corn and soybean combines will both be running and they can see corn stalk baling again this year too.”
The Farm Science Review is known as the Midwest’s premier agricultural event and draws 130,000 farmers, growers, producers and agricultural enthusiasts from across the U.S. and Canada annually. Participants are able to peruse 4,000 product lines from more than 600 commercial exhibitors and engage in educational opportunities with Ohio State and Purdue University specialists.