Gateway FS Construction Services crop yield

2019 Crop Yield Stats Show Perseverance

For many people, 2019 now probably feels like it was four years ago and not four months ago. But if you can remember back to earlier in the year there was another big, but different, problem we were all trying to sort through: rain. In fact, the first six months of 2019 were the wettest on record for the state of Illinois. And of course, a record-breaking wet season leads to another record no one wants, prevented plantings.

According to an article in FarmWeek, “Crop plantings in Illinois last season totaled just 10.5 million acres of corn, down 5% from 2018, and 9.95 million acres of soybeans, down 8%.” One of the more remarkable stats pulled from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is that it took until June 4 for progress on corn planting to reach 50%. Naturally, it’s just not possible to be that delayed on planting and not experience a reduction in yields, which is exactly what happened. Soybeans faired a little better than corn at 9.5 bushels per acre off the previous year’s count to corn’s 29 bushels per acre difference.

And yet, the article goes on to say, with record rain and drastically-delayed planting, the yields, though down, were surprisingly strong all things considered. Illinois still went on to lead the nation in soybean production. As for our specific neck of the woods, Washington county pulled in the highest corn yield on average at 167.4 bushels per acre, and Monroe had the highest average soybean yield at 47.2. These totals sit a little lower than the state average 181 for corn and 54 for soybeans.

And yet, thinking back to last year, when it seemed like the ground just couldn’t take any more and almost every field looked like a lake, it’s amazing these numbers are as high as they are. If there’s anything to take from all this, besides some interesting numbers, it’s that we know how to weather the storms, which will always come in some form or other. So many of our friends, neighbors, and clients simply continue to persevere, no matter how dire things look. And sometimes, even after record-breaking storms, things can turn out alright after all.

As always, we are here for any of your building, grain system, seed system, and garage door needs. If you need anything at all, 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 managing soybeans grain systems

Drying, Storing and Managing Soybeans

The process of drying soybeans has evolved significantly over the years. While the fundamental principal is largely the same (store large batches of grain until it dries), the specifics of how it’s done, and the degrees to which it has been fine-tuned, have changed quite a bit. All drying methods that work for corn can be adapted to soybeans, though the differences between the two are important to bear in mind. So in the interest of helping out, we’re going to go over some helpful hints on drying and managing soybeans. You can find more information on any of these tips in our Grain Drying Manual.

6 Hints to Soybean Drying Success

  1. Soybeans are more fragile than corn and can be damaged by air that is too hot or too dry. Too much heat can cause seed cracking and splits. High drying temperatures can cause 100% splits in as short as five minutes. To prevent coat cracking, the drying air should be kept above 40% relative humidity. In commercial drying, when splits are less of a concern, soybeans can be dried with a maximum temperature of 130-140°
  2. In-bin drying systems designed for corn can work for soybeans too. However, in-bin continuous-flow systems and stirring devices can damage them as moisture drops to 12% or below. Grain spreaders will work for commercial soybeans, but not for seed beans. When not using a spreader, several loads can be removed from the bin’s center during filling to keep grain level and help remove the fines.
  3. To keep in-bin moisture as even as possible, it’s best to use shallow batch depths of 2-3’ when drying.
  4. Run soybeans through a grain cleaner to help remove weed seeds and fines. Too many of either will increase airflow resistance and promote mold and pest growth.
  5. Soybeans have a high oil content, which means they spoil more easily than corn. It’s recommended to keep moisture at 13% for winter storage.
  6. A good aeration system is necessary for safe storage. Ideally, it will be a system with a full floor. Whenever the grain temperature is 10°F above the outside air temperature, the grain can be cooled until the bin temperature is 35-40°

Obviously, there is a lot more that can go into safely drying and storing soybeans, but hopefully these tips will prove useful. As always if you are in need of grain drying, grain storage, 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 storage systems

Project Profile: Grain Bins Prepare Client for Future

At FS Construction Services we understand that each new project is different from the one before. Some projects require more problem solving, some require an extra level of finesse, and some just require a whole lot of space and a whole lot of size.

This was the case early last year when Grain Systems Specialist Nathan Koester led his team on a pretty massive undertaking. The job was to build not one, but two, 12-ring tall, 48’ Sukup grain bins, each with a 73,700 bushel capacity. These bins were built to share a staircase and are connected at the top for easy and safe roof access. In addition, each bin was outfitted with three, 15hp centrifugal fans as well as a 10” unloading Sweepway Power Sweep.

Ready for Agricultural Expansions

This wasn’t the end of the project though, because our client knows that at some point, they will want to keep growing their operation. In preparation for this, we helped the client start the site of this future expansion, including making a space for more electrical work, and helping them prep for 150,000 more bushel capacity and an eventual dryer with a receiving pit.

When all was said and done, our client gained two huge, fully-loaded grain bins. But they also got more than that. As these new structures help them continue the success they’ve already experienced, they have also gained the ability to keep expanding and keep growing in the near future.

If you are interested in any new grain systems, contact the professionals at Gateway FS Construction Services now. You can depend on us to provide the best products and services at the best possible price. For more information on your next grain storage, grain handling, or grain drying system, contact us at 866-551-3454. We look forward to providing you with the best customer service experience.

FS Contruction Services tips for grain storage

Four Tips for Storing Grain in the Winter

One of the realities of farming that many people don’t always think about is how actually getting something to grow, through flood, drought, and storm, is only part of the battle. After grain is actually harvested, there’s an equally involved process that goes into simply storing it that can be just as time consuming. Unsurprisingly, there is a different protocol for storing grain effectively in the summer than in the winter.

Tips to Cooling Grain for Storage

Since the winter season is fully upon us, it seems like as good a time as discuss some tips for how to cool grain for proper winter storage. If, after reading this article, you’d like more information on any of these tips, take a look at our Grain Drying Manual.

  1. Effectively-stored grain requires aeration. When it comes to winter storage, you’ll want to aerate to cool the grain to somewhere between 35 and 40˚F. When the outside day-night air temperature is 10-15˚F cooler than the grain itself, you’ll want to start an aeration cycle. This cycle can be repeated whenever the average outside air temperature drops another 10-15˚. It can take up to three cooling cycles to get the grain to be properly cooled.
  2. When it’s time for an aeration cycle, choose a clear, crisp day when the air and grain are close to the same temperature.
  3. Inspect the grain every couple weeks during the winter months. Get in the bin and look for signs of crusting or wet, sticky, or frozen grain. Additionally, look for hot spots and probe for hard spots. Running the fan will stir the air. If there’s a musty smell, you can check for mold or spoilage. If spoilage is found, move the grain. If it begins to go out of condition, run the fan right away, as long as the outside temperature isn’t more than 10˚F above the grain temperature.
  4. Do not cool grain below freezing. Frozen grain chunks can plug unloading systems and restrict airflow.

The importance of grain drying can’t be overstated and there is a lot to take into consideration, and we will get more in depth as we continue this series. As always if you are in need of grain drying, grain storage, 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

Project Profile: The Benefits of Planning Ahead

Here at FS Construction Services we work hard to keep up on the newest trends and changes in technology and hardware in grain dryers. And as important as it is to stay current, it’s also true that when you’ve been around as long as we have, and seen as many types of projects as we’ve seen, you learn a thing or two. And sometimes what you learn is that just a little bit of forward thinking can go a really long way.

Benefits of Planning Ahead for a Grain Drying System

Two years ago we built a 20,000 bushel grain bin for a client, but planning ahead, we built it knowing the client would likely want to add a drying system sometime in the near future. That near future became the present this past summer when we were called in for the job. When our client was ready, we added a 12’ continuous flow Sukup grain dryer and a wet tank to be used for storage once drying is complete. In addition to building the actual structures, we completed all the necessary millwrighting needed to ensure grain can be transferred to and from the dryer.

Justen Kempfer, our grain systems specialist, was on site to oversee the construction and make sure each system was set up exactly as it should be. In addition to construction oversight, our team also provided training for our client to guarantee they could jump right in to the brand new system without any hiccups or difficulties.

If you are interested in any new grain systems, contact the professionals at Gateway FS Construction Services now. You can depend on us to provide the best products and services at the best possible price. For more information on your next grain storage, grain handling, or grain drying system, contact us at 866-551-3454. We look forward to providing you with the best customer service experience.

FS Construction Services preseason discounts

Get a Jump on the New Year! Preseason Discounts Available

At FS Construction Services, we know that the memory of harvest may still be fresh in the minds of many of our friends and clients. And while we wish everyone a restful, relaxing beginning to the new year, we also know that now is the best time to begin planning for the oncoming planting season. The same can be said for pretty much any building or maintenance project that you’re looking to tackle this year. We know that it can be tempting to put projects and problems on hold, especially during these cold days and long nights, but we wanted to give you something to think about while you hibernate. From grain systems to buildings to seed systems, there are a number of preseason discounts available and certainly worth consideration.

As you take stock of your equipment, buildings, and systems, if you’ve had updates or upgrades planned for the year, now is a great time to move, as many of our partners are still offering discounts and deals. Additionally, our calendar can get filled up pretty fast, and while spring may seem like a long way off, there is no doubt that it will be here before we know it. If you are interested in getting us on your schedule, or if you would like to talk to an expert about any of our services or need help thinking through a possible project, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And of course, be sure to ask us about any current or upcoming preseason deals so we can get you the equipment you want at a price that works for you.

For grain and seed systems to buildings, roofing, garage doors, and more, our goal is to provide our customers and clients with the best possible products at the best prices with the best service. If you have any questions, 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 happy holidays

Happy Holidays From FS Construction Services!

Whether this year has flown by or moved at a crawl, we’re all here at the end of it together. From the record-breaking cold of January to the long, long rainy season and the subsequent late harvest, 2019 has been a bit of a rollercoaster for many of our friends, family, and clients. And yet, even with all of that, we’ve come to the time of year where many of us have a chance to slow down just a bit (possibly between long stretches of driving, regretting eating that second piece of pumpkin pie, and the various other things that go hand in hand with the holidays).

We are reminded of the many new people we had the privilege of meeting over the course of this year and the opportunities we’ve had to serve our community in our own small way. One of the benefits of being here at FS Construction Services is that we don’t have to look too hard to see the positive impact our work has, which we believe is most reflected in who our clients are. We get to work with the farmers, the small business owners, and the families who live in and around our communities. We get to help those who, in many cases, are working hard to help others. We are proud we get to be a part of that and thankful for those who have let us come alongside them.

As always if you have any construction needs, from residential, commercial, and agricultural buildings to grain systemsseed systemsgarage doorsroofing, and many other types of services, we have trained experts who can help you with the biggest job to the smallest one. If you have questions, need an estimate, or just need some advice, 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 in the coming new year!

FS Construction Services grain bin vent maintenance

Dryer Bin Vent Maintenance Will Save You Money

It is a universal truth that a little bit of maintenance goes a long way toward saving yourself future costs and headaches. And while winter is already here, it’s not too late to perform a little grain dryer bin vent maintenance. Do this work now, and your future self will owe you a huge debt of gratitude come spring.

What follows are a series of maintenance tips, particularly dryer bin vent safety tips, that will prevent trouble down the road.

  1. Make sure roof vents are clear of dust and debris, so that when they open, they are able to release the moisture necessary to effectively dry grain. Clogged vents can cause pressure to build from the fans working harder to pump air through the system. While grain bins are designed to withstand significant exterior pressure, interior pressure can cause buckling, holes, and puckering of the roof. The repair process is labor and time intensive, and can involve emptying the entire bin.
  2. Perform regular visual inspections to make sure the structure appears clean and clear.
  3. Keep the entire roof, not just the grain bin vents, free of debris and dirt.
  4. Make sure you have enough grain bin roof vents in place. The general rule of thumb to follow is one square foot of roof vent for every horsepower of motor/fan (i.e. a 7 HP fan will require 7 sq. ft. of venting).

The regular upkeep and maintenance of your grain storage system will ensure it provides well-stored, dried, and quality grain year after year. If you are in need of grain drying, grain storage, 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 thank you veterans

Remembering our Nation’s Brave Veterans

As we enter this time of year, it seems like there are no shortage of opportunities to pause, reflect, and be grateful for the things that we have. ­­From New Years to Christmas to Thanksgiving, the roller coaster of holidays and festivities can seem endless. The busyness of this time of year can also make it feel impossible to do the thing we’re constantly told we should be doing: slowing down, taking stock, and finding gratefulness, including for our veterans.

Monday, November 11, presents another one of those opportunities, albeit on a day when most businesses will still be open and most people working. Though there may not be presents or parties, Veteran’s Day is no less important a day to commemorate.

At FS Construction Services, we know how busy a day can get and how fast a day can go. We know how easy it is to blink and suddenly it’s 10pm and you have no idea where the time went. But this November 11 we ask that you join us and make the time to remember. Find a few minutes to consider the cost that the men and women who have served our country have paid, the nights they’ve spent away from their families, and the danger they have put themselves in. How our nation’s veterans have willingly set aside their freedoms and safety to protect our homes and our families.

So to all the veterans far and wide: thank you. Your sacrifice is a remarkable thing and it will not be easily forgotten or overlooked.

As always, FS Construction Services is here for your buildinggarage doorgrain systemseed systemroofing, and other handiwork needs. Our group of experts and specialists are always happy to answer your questions, give you advice, or help you in any way. Please feel free to reach out to Gateway FS Construction Services. You can 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 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.