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Osage Coop Elevator 3

Duane Smith empties a bin of beans into a semi.

OSAGE | The Osage Coop Elevator’s grain merchandiser, Steve Ruehlow, and grain handler, Duane Smith, are gearing up for this year’s soybean harvest.

Ruehlow has worked at the elevator for 37 years, while Smith has worked there for three, but has been handling grain for 35 years.

“Last year we had four dumpsites and were capable of dumping 175,000 bushels of beans in a 10-hour day,” Ruehlow said. “We have storage for 6 million bushels of grain; 1.5 million for soybeans, and 4.5 million bushels for corn.”

Like farmers, grain handlers have their own challenges, which relate to farming and weather conditions.

“In 2009, we had a lot of pod problems, with them moving to the outside of the storage bins, freezing, which then caused them to develop into chunks,” Smith said. “Last year it was a challenge because it rained a lot. Most beans were up to 15 percent moisture and we had to put air on them.

There are times when we get in beans that are a little dusty and if there is too much dirt, it will plug up our screw augers.”

To facilitate area farmers bringing in beans, the elevator has a system where grain haulers can see electronic signal lights at the end of the scale to direct them to the proper dumpsite. The elevator also extends operating hours during crop harvest from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “If we think it will rain we will stay open a little longer,” Smith said.

A new feature at the coop this year is a text messaging system. Ruehlow said the system will be helpful in notifying crop producers if the coop is staying open late, or if it will be closing early due to rain.

The coop’s regular customers are already on the texting list, which enables them to receive important information and reminders about the coop’s events all year long. To be added, stop by the elevator or call 641-732-3768.

Both Ruehlow and Smith want to remind farmers of certain hazards around the elevator. “There is absolutely no smoking around dumpsites,” Smith said. “Being careful crossing railroad tracks while going to grain dumpsites is very important, because we have had some close calls.”

“We know farmers get nervous during harvest, because they have a lot of dollars out in their fields,” Ruehlow said.

“We try to accommodate farmers as best we can, but we have break downs too,” Smith said.

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