Corder elevator expands after first year

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The 500,000 bushel tank on the right is one of two constructed this summer at Ray-Carroll location in Corder. The facility has a 6,000-hour bushel grain drier and during harvest will fill ground piles first where the grain will be tarped. (Sarah Reed/Missouri Farms)

Rows of sleepy hills stretch across the coutryside of Route 20 -- the mid-section of the state where landscape gives way from the rocky inclines of southern Missouri to the plains of the north. It's here where the 1-year-old grain elevator near Corder towers above farmland.

Opened by Ray-Carroll Grain Growers, Corder is the company's 11th location.

In it's first year of operation, the facility has seen enough business to put expansion plans into motion.

"We're expecting a lot of traffic here. Weather conditions are perfect right now for growers," Location Manager Josh Riley said in an interview early last month.

The facility was operating with a 1.4 million-bushel storage capacity. This summer, two 500,000-bushel tanks were added, as well as an anhydrous plant. Now, the facility is moving into its third stage of development.

"Our stage three project is our 1 million bushel ground pile that will be completed by the first of September," Riley noted.

Crew members prepare the base of a tower that will be constructed at the edgoe of a ground pile at Ray-Carroll's Corder location. After grain has been stored and covered, officials will check the quality each week. Later, an outside company will auger it onto trucks, drive it to the other side of the facility where it will be loaded onto trains. (Sarah Reed/Missouri Farms) (Sarah Reed/Missouri Farms)

Thursday morning, Aug. 14, crew members were well into its construction. A circular cement footing that will support 4-foot tall retaining walls was already formed, and workers chipped into the ground where one of two towers will be built. By harvest season, a conveyor will shift corn from the bin to the pile, where it will be covered with a tarp and stored.

By mid-September, storage at the facility will have more than doubled in size -- mushrooming from a 1.4 million to 3.5 million-bushel capacity.

"We market our grain anywhere from Arkansas to Mexico," Riley said. "It gives us a chance to market differently and create more value for the farmer. The more we can make, the more we can pay out."

The growth will give the Corder facility the ability to store longer. The benefit is expected to impact a range of customers in the long run.

"We're not going to have to push our grain out the door as fast as we have just to keep pace," Riley explained. "Different times in the market pay differently, and the new space allows the opportunity to take advantage of that."

Riley's estimation of weather conditions was on-target. Missouri's crop progress and condition, as reported by the USDA, reflects the ideal weather farmers saw early in the season. As of the week ending Aug. 10, corn progress in the state was higher than that of the same time last year. Corn was rated at 50 percent good and 33 percent excellent, while soybeans were rated at 56 percent good and 20 percent excellent.

For the West Central District, USDA reported corn dough at 88 percent, corn dented at 43 percent, soybeans blooming at 94 percent and soybeans setting pods at 54 percent.

While additional space allows for flexibility in marketing, Riley indicated another benefit.

A track, which can accommodate 120 rail cars, loops around the Ray-Carroll grain elevator in Corder. The facility can load 100 cars in approximately eight hours, amounting to roughly 8,000 bushels per hour, Location Manager Josh Riley said. (Sarah Reed/Missouri Farms)

"This also gives us the advantage in whole grain (to) sell when the market is up ...," he said.

The facility's service area stretches out roughly 100 miles. It is one of Ray-Carroll's few shuttle elevators. With a rail car capacity of 120, it utilizes Kansas City Southern Railroad to move product out of its centralized zone.

It expansion is indicative of healthy regional fields. And as crew members work toward their goal, officials look forward to harvest, when the fields are shed of their grain and farmers reap the benefits long term.

Contact Sarah Reed at

Note: Kelly Melies contributed information to this story.