Harvest season started about a week ago with many local farmers bringing in the corn (before the rain started).  So far things have been off to a great start!
Just a little under a week into the harvest, Midwest Farmers Cooperative Location Manager Eric Werth said, “Some of the samples coming in have been as high as 18% moisture, but he added, “Overall, conditions look good.  I’d say that average moisture is about 16% right now.”
Most farmers want to see 15% or less moisture.  Essentially, when there is more water in the corn, it takes more time to dry out, and the payment to the farmer is less if there is too much moisture in the product.
The Midwest Farmers Cooperative Rail Facility east of Syracuse offers the most efficient facility in approximately a hundred mile radius.  “It was built by tomorrow’s standards for today.  We really built this thing with the future in mind.  Everything is overbuilt with room for growth and expansion,” said Werth.
On Sept. 14, they shipped out the fourteenth train since the rail was completed in April 2017.  The trains all come through Nebraska City and then go back that direction once they’re full headed to destinations on the West coast, the Gulf or internationally to Mexico.  
They expect to ship six to eight more trains out of the facility just during the 2017 harvest season.  It takes eight to ten hours to actually load each train, and they are typically at the facility less than 15 hours total.
For unloading trucks, they have a new RFID (radio frequency identification) system.  It’s all automated.  On their first stop at the coop, customers can set up a profile and obtain an ID card to use when they come in to empty a load.  
From that point on, the customer is able to weigh in and out by scanning the card at each scale.  At this point, Werth said, “So far no troubles whatsoever… The key cards have been working wonderfully.”
At other facilities, unloading time can typically run 15-20 minutes.  Here, they can be in and out in five minutes.  Werth noted, “It’s all driven by efficiency and less errors.”  
Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Wilhelm said at peak harvest, they could see over 300 (possibly 400) trucks per day.
 The new facility holds 2.8 million bushels, which is significantly more than the storage of other locations.  
No beans will be accepted at the new location in 2017 (just corn). However, Wilhelm said, “Half of the Otoe facility will be beans this year which is an extra bin out there, too.”  Samples can still be brought to any of the locations.
Midwest Farmers Cooperative is also building a dry fertilizer plant at the new location.  
Wilhelm said, “That construction looks to be wrapping up the middle part of October.  
We expect to start receiving product in the middle of October and be ready to ship product out at the end of October.  Farmers can come in here and pick it up or we can ship it directly to their field where they need it.”  Custom application will also be an option.
More information on the facility will be published upon opening.
Werth said that coop hours during harvest will typically be 8a.m.-7p.m., but those can vary based on the weather (and usually just open afternoons on Sundays).  
Communication will be posted at the locations on any variations each day.  Midwest also wanted to remind everyone to have a safe harvest and watch out for slow moving vehicles on the highways this fall.