FS Construction Services fall maintenance

Preventing Winter Emergencies with Fall Maintenance

With the days already getting shorter and (occasionally) cooler, as sudden as ever, summer is has ended and fall has begun. And while there’s always the hope of a couple of calm, temperate autumn months, winter usually shows up sooner than anyone wants. It’s all too easy to overestimate the amount of time you have left until the real cold starts and all too common to leave winter-preparation maintenance tasks undone once it does.

It really doesn’t take long to come up with around-the-house work to do before winter:

  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Seal gaps and cracks in windows and doors
  • Repair damaged or corroded roof shingles and flashing
  • Drain outdoor faucets, hoses, and irrigation systems
  • Inspect heating systems and furnaces, cleaning and replacing filters when necessary
  • Have all gas equipment inspected
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

And of course, this list could go on and on. The truth is that any of the aforementioned residential maintenance projects also apply to agricultural and commercial properties as well, albeit usually with a lot more time and effort involved. Grain bins, seed systems, storage sheds, post-frame buildings, and more, all need the same kind of attention and work to ensure they not only last the winter months, but are ready for use come spring as well. We all know winter is hard on buildings, and even small things like trapped water or gaps along windows can wreak havoc if not tended to.

If you are in need of some help getting your grain storage or transfer equipment, buildings, seed systems, or more ready for the months to come, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

Preventative Maintenance recommendations Gateway FS Construction Services

The Importance of Pre-Harvest Maintenance Recommendations

Somehow, this year has flown by and it’s already September, which means it’s time to make sure that all of your grain drying and handling equipment is ready for the harvest. We’ve been around long enough at FS Construction Services to know how tempting it is to avoid the upfront cost or hassle of pre-harvest maintenance, but we also know how much time, money, and inconvenience it can save you down the road. A little money to prevent a problem in September is significantly better than having to fix a broken piece of equipment in the middle of harvest.

You may already know if your system or equipment is experiencing difficulty or is in need of maintenance. If you’re not sure, however, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions. Is your grain drying unevenly? Did you experience any mold or spoilage after last year’s harvest? Have your structures been subject to severe weather or wear? Have you had high-moisture crops or been running out of room to store your grain? If so, it may be time for some preseason maintenance.

If your systems are in need of repair or you just want to head into harvest with confidence, our Grain Systems Specialists will be more than happy to help. Our service technicians are highly trained and experienced, so whether it’s catching problems before they begin or diagnosing current issues, they will work to ensure your grain systems are ready to run strong through the entire season.

If you are in the market for new or upgraded grain storage, grain drying, grain handling equipment or agricultural structures, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

seed treatment Gateway FS Construction Services

Project Profile: Seed Treatment Has Never Been Easier

At FS Construction Services, we get to do a lot of different types of projects and, naturally, work with a lot of old and new equipment and technology. And while retrofitting, upgrading, or completely overhauling old seed treatment equipment certainly has its ups and downs, especially when it comes to teaching and learning new technology, it’s also a lot of fun.

Such was the case earlier this year when we got to work with a client on a complete seed treatment facility upgrade. Over the course of three days, we updated an existing box-to-box system to a full service binsite. We added four 3000 unit Meridian bins as well as a 300 unit weigh hopper which can continuously treat from boxes, bags, or bulk seed bins.

In addition to that, we got to install the new 4.0 binsite window base automation. This new technology allows for navigation of the entire site from a single screen. We understand that it’s common for these sorts of things to come with steep learning curves, which is why we have worked hard to make sure our experts are as well prepared as they can possibly be. Justen Kempfer, our Seed Treating Solutions Specialist, stayed on site to provide extensive user training and support for this new system. Justen worked with this client from the conception phase, answering any questions they had, and advising them on the right kind of equipment to ensure they were getting exactly what they needed and knew how to use it.

If you are in the market for any kind of seed system or grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

Pest management Gateway FS Construction Services

The Importance of Early Pest Management

At FS Construction Services, we know there are a lot of things that can go wrong during the process of grain storage. And while this may sound like a pessimistic way to begin, most issues that arise during the process of grain storage are preventable and treatable. This is perhaps no truer than when it comes to pest management.

Beetles, lesser grain borer, weevils, and moths are some of the most common pests that growers face and, left unattended, they can transform huge batches of grain into unusable waste. Insects are most attracted to high temperatures and high levels of humidity, which means that one of the most effective ways to combat pests is to make sure you have a well-aerated storage bin.

But it doesn’t take much for insects to come in, grow, and spread. In the world of insect control there are two options: protectant and curative. Like most things, the quicker you act, the better. Fewer insects are easier to manage and the less time they have to establish themselves the better. One of the main means of protecting grain is done by applying an insecticide after the grain is dried, since the heat of a commercial dryer will significantly reduce the insecticide’s power, and immediately before it enters storage.

After the grain has been loaded into storage, a top dressing, or surface treatment, of the grain can further be applied which will act as an additional protective barrier and help reduce insects that would come in through cracks, gaps, and other means. Well-established insect colonies will require additional, more powerful means to kill off.

In a perfect world, no one would ever have to use pesticides. Insects would simply not be interested in eating grain. But since this is not the case, it’s far better to stop as much of the problem that can be stopped as soon as possible. Quick action when it comes to pests means a healthier, more abundant product that has experienced the least amount of interference possible.

If you are in the market for grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

Gateway FS Construction Services grain drying systems

Why Grain Aeration Matters

If you’ve ever left a wet towel or wet piece of clothing in a heap for a few days where it wasn’t exposed to much sunlight or airflow, you’ve experienced the gross, musty, maybe even moldy, consequences of that mistake. Corn and soybeans, which are often harvested in high heat, high humidity conditions and stored en masse in dark grain bins, are ideal environments for mold and mildew to grow, making them a similar, though much more costly mistake.

Luckily, the remedy to the damp, still air of a grain bin is pretty simple. All you need is a little wind. Well, maybe it’s not quite that simple. Technically, what’s needed is “aeration.” Controlled, conditioned, forced air, provided by fans, moving through a mass of grain to make it suitable for storage.

Now, unless you’ve got some 747 jet engines, aeration isn’t going to turn a wet heap of grain into a dry pile ready for long-term storage. Grain will need to be dried with a grain dryer before storage. But what proper aeration can do is give you a few additional options with your grain. For instance, corn that has been aerated to a moisture content of 17% can be fed to livestock during the winter. 15% can be removed from storage before the start of summer, and 13% can be stored into summer and even beyond a year.

Proper aeration, by the way, means cooling fans should move 2 to 5 cubic feet of air per second per ton. So a fan blowing on 100 tons of grain should be pushing 300 cubic feet of air per second. The best way to achieve this is with automatic controllers, which will turn fans on and off at the most advantageous times (and can run as little as 100 hours a month). Additionally, this can prevent fans from blowing during high humidity times, which will effectively work to spread all that nice moisture around and upset the moisture content levels. Well-aerated grain maintains uniform temperature and moisture content, meaning your end product is more consistent and reliable.

If you are in the market for grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience. Click here to see an overview of our Grain Systems capabilities.

Grain Handling tips FS Construction Services

Tips for Effective Grain Handling and Care

The team at FS Construction Services knows our customers understand the importance of proper grain collection and storage. Grain is sensitive, even delicate, and care must be taken to ensure its quality. It’s obvious that pests and diseases are harmful to grain, which is why it’s so important for equipment and storage systems to be cleaned and sealed. However, according to Illinois Ag News, even grain that’s been run through a “clean and properly adjusted combine can also be run through a grain cleaner to further remove fine materials on which insects can feed.” Research shows that a cleaner will improve the overall quality of your grain.

Generally, clean, dry grain requires less management overall. Harmful insects and mildew enjoy damp places, and when grain is stored without first being cleaned of all the extra fine material, it’s harder for air to move through the batch, allowing damp, moldy pockets to form. Additionally, it’s recommended to use a grain distributor, preventing fine material buildup. Without a distributor, the fine material can collect in the center of the grain mass, which, as you can imagine, creates poor aeration and moisture buildup.

The good news is that with a little extra work, you can avoid mold, rot, and pest damage to your grain.

  • Slow-drying grain reduces the amount of stress and damage on your kernels. Unbroken kernels clean better and sell better.
  • Similarly, operating grain handling equipment at lower speeds (and at capacity) will prevent unnecessary damage.
  • Handle grain as efficiently as possible. Each new step adds another opportunity for damage or contamination. Avoiding unnecessary grain handling will not only save time but might also save your batch.

It may seem easier to cut corners in the moment but treating grain with care can net long-lasting benefits and profits down the road.

If you are in the market for grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

FS Construction Services grain site preparation

The Importance of Storage System Site Preparation

We all know why cleanliness matters, for people, houses, and pets. However, not everyone realizes just how important it is to keep the handling equipment and storage structures for grain clean. Or, as a recent Illinois Ag News article puts it, “Your grain will only be as clean as the site in which its handled and stored.” If you think about it for a moment, it makes sense, but not just because dirty grain sounds gross. Grain residue that hasn’t been cleaned up has a good chance of rotting or attracting insects, and moldy or pest-riddled grain leftover in the bottom of a bin can contaminate new grain that gets added. Fortunately, with just a little time and maintenance, spoiled grain is easily preventable thus, ensuring the highest possible quality and return on your investment.

The first step, naturally, is cleaning up after yourself, not just the actual storage bin itself either, but the various means of grain transportation like trucks, storage systems and drying, aeration, handling and transfer equipment. Grain is tiny and can get into small places, which, while annoying to clean, is a lot less annoying than the host of issues caused by rotten grain. To clean the surfaces where you will hold or transport grain, it is recommended to:

  • Sweep and vacuum where old grain has been. Clear out the old grain and get rid of its dust and residue.
  • Clean under the floor of the grain bin. If the floor can’t be removed, use a fumigant with aluminum phosphide (such as Weevil-cide) to clear out insects in the subfloor. (Note that aluminum phosphide, while effective, is also very toxic, and should be applied by a certified fumigator.)

Once the cleaning is done, there are some simple, preventative measures you can take to keep moisture and pests from affecting crops that will be stored in your grain bin.

  • Seal up cracks or gaps in the structure. Look for areas where light or moisture appears to be leaking in.
  • Areas around doors and hatches are susceptible to this, so be sure to check the seals.
  • Treat the interior surfaces of the bin with a residual bin spray two to three weeks before filling.

It may seem a bit like busy work, and to most people cleaning isn’t very fun, but the headaches you’ll save yourself down the road by following these simple instructions are well worth the effort.

If you are in the market for grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

Economic benefits of proper grain storage

The Huge Economic Benefits of Proper Grain Storage

One of our most frequent jobs here at FS Construction Services is the planning and construction of new grain storage bins. So while it stands to reason that we obviously believe they provide value, we thought it might be helpful to reinforce just how many economic benefits proper grain storage provides.

Because grain market prices are often lowest during harvest, most growers understandably hold on to their grain for a little while until prices rise. Unfortunately, grain can’t simply be dumped and forgotten until it’s needed again. The better the grain is stored, the less likely it is to be spoiled or ravaged by pests. According to an article in Illinois Ag News, improperly stored grain can cost farmers up to 20% of their yield. The alarming, though perhaps not surprising reality, is that it doesn’t take much to significantly alter the quality of the grain being stored. Dry corn, which is defined as having 13% or less moisture, can be stored up to a year at 30˚F. However, just four days at 26% moisture and 60˚F can cut that corn’s storage life in half.

An old or poorly maintained storage bin is not only at risk of letting in too much moisture, but also harmful pests that can ruin your stored harvest. On the flip side, properly built, maintained and operationally efficient bulk grain storage can provide: lower labor/operating costs, less waste, better fumigation, and longer storage times.

So while high quality grain storage and handling systems do have an upfront investment for the grower, the benefits will be recognized, year after year, with good grain that can wait for the ideal market price to come around.

Once such instance occurred recently when our team of grain storage professionals installed a new Shivvers Remote LINK Grain Management System. With a simple login from his smartphone, our customer was able to manage his drying operation remotely and track the system’s performance. Advantages like this and many other are making it more profitable than ever for growers to maximize the return on their harvest.

If your grain storage is in need of a update or you have questions about the most current grain drying and storage equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

FS Construction Services grain bin project profile

Project Profile: 30’ Grain Bin for Local Farm

One of the things we enjoy at FS Construction Services is that, even when the work is the same, the job is always different. Every client, every worksite, every timeline has its own unique set of circumstances, peculiarities, challenges, and joys.

Most projects feature their share of unique moments that make them stand out from the rest, whether it’s an unusual client request, incorporating various options or maybe even a unique location. While for many folks, the hour-by-hour, day-by-day grinding it out of doing the same kind of thing you did the day before can get monotonous, but not for us! At FS Construction Services our team looks at each individual project as a chance to shine and deliver the highest quality grain storage systems to meet (or exceed) the customers’ expectations. Such was the case on a recent project.

This project was unique and had to meet the client’s strict requirements. A 30’ tall, 6-ring Sukup grain bin with a bushel capacity of 14,700, a 24” axial fan for drying at a lower static pressure, a ladder with a safety cage, and an unload system.

What made this project stand out, however, was the great customer: a local, family-owned farm in need of some increased capacity. Our team of experts always makes a point to get to know our clients and figure out exactly what they need so we can build them the most useful, cost efficient structure available. Sometimes that means a client needs the most cutting edge, largest, most impressive equipment on the market. And other times, it simply means the client needs something that works, day in and day out, just like they do, just like we do.

If you are in need of any grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.

FS Construction Services grain bin

Project Profile: Customized 42’ Grain Bin

One of the benefits of being in the business as long as we have at FS Construction Services is that every client is different and no two jobs are exactly the same. We have built a lot of grain storage bins throughout the years and while there have been many jobs with similar details, there is always something just a little bit different, just a little bit unique, to make that job its very own. Sometimes we don’t do much more than put up a structure, and sometimes we are putting up that structure and filling it with every possible accessory available. From the littlest to the most, each job has its own requirements and we’re here to help our clients find exactly the right pieces to make their set up work.

Recently, we got to build a 42’ tall, 10-ring grain bin with a capacity of 47,000 bushels. But in order for it to perform exactly the way our client needed it to, we installed a specific set of accessories to guarantee a satisfied customer. One of the benefits of working with our friends at Sukup is that we’ve been partners for so long, we have a good idea of how their products go together to get the best results. For this project, we installed dual centrifugal 20hp fans for enhanced drying capabilities, a double run conveyor for filling with a shorter auger, a power sweep, a gravity spreader, a 3-phase drive, and stairs wrapping around the outside of the bin for safety.

Delivered on schedule and on budget, our client had exactly what they would need going forward for continued success. While it may not have been anything extravagant and may even look like some of our other jobs it was the exact right pieces for this job.

If you are in need of grain storage, grain drying, or grain handling and transfer equipment, please let Gateway FS Construction Services know. Give us a call at 866-551-3454, and let our specialists help you find exactly what you are looking for. We look forward to providing you the best customer service experience.