Cargill modernizing Hales Point grain facility

by Josh Sosland
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HALLS, TENN. — Cargill AgHorizons will invest $25 million to expand and modernize its Hales Point, Tenn., grain elevator, northeast of Memphis.

According to the 2011 Grain & Milling Annual, the facility has a loadout capacity of 15,000 bus per hour and storage capacity of 133,000 bus.

Cargill said the elevator currently unloads about 10 trucks per hour.

“We will significantly increase that number,” said Tom Rodman, project leader, Cargill AgHorizons Mid-South Farm Service Group. “The lines of trucks can be pretty long at peak harvest times, and these enhancements will minimize that issue. The goal is to realize an increase in our current unload capacity for the fall harvest this year.”

Cargill said it will be cutting the time required to load a barge to less than two hours from the current rate of six, suggesting a loadout capacity in excess of 45,000 bus per hour. The company did not confirm the new loadout rate and did not disclose how much storage capacity will be increased.

Grain unloaded at Hales Point mostly is shipped by barge to Cargill export elevators in Westwego and Reserve, La.
Overall, Cargill said it will be able to double the amount of grain it can handle at Hales Point.

The company said it expected the expansion to allow for the purchase of sorghum at the facility “at some point in the future.” Currently, the company purchases corn, soybeans and soft red winter wheat there.

“Our goal is to be the most efficient grain elevator for area farmers, and the additional storage space, as well as the increased unloading capabilities, will help us achieve that,” said Kevin Mount, Cargill AgHorizon sales manager.

The project is expected to be completed by December and will result in expansion of the elevator workforce to 12 from 9.

In November 2010, Cargill installed a high-capacity grain dryer at Hales Point to increase its ability to unload grains during wet harvests. Built in 1964, Cargill acquired the facility with its 1999 acquisition of the grain marketing business of Continental Grain Co.
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