Bartlett Grain in Great Bend will increase storage capacity by two million bushels on a project expected to be completed by the 2016 wheat harvest.
Macon General Contractors from Bradford, Ill. features two dozen employees building a 200-foot by 400-foot storage facility that will use a vinyl roof. Macon builds grain storage and handling facilities.
“We are adding 2 million bushels of capacity that will be ready before wheat harvest,” said Andrew Fullerton, Bartlett’s grain merchant. “This will increase the elevator’s capacity to 4.6 million bushels. Our current focus is on improvement of our existing facilities for our customers, both in the U.S. and Mexico.”
Fullerton said the additional capacity will allow flexibility for handling incoming and outgoing grain.
Bartlett sells wheat grain to several Mexico City flour mills. In addition to wheat harvest from late spring through the summer, Bartett handles milo for export primarily from August through December.
“Two things we consistently hear is unload speed and space to handle the crops,” Fullerton said. “There is potential for a bigger-sized wheat crop this year. We’ve added milo now. We felt if we added space, we can do a better job of taking care of the customer. We’ll still look to add more space down the road.”
Fullerton said having accessible grain on site can deliver financial advantages when the market price is right.
“It made sense to get the project up-and-going,” he said. “Things have gone well for us. We’ve been pleased by what we’ve been able to do competing in the local market. The customers we sell grain to are very pleased with the quality and production in this area. That’s a pretty strong statement for the quality of grain production for farms and operators around here.”
Bartlett employs 16 full-time employees at the Great Bend facility, including grain buying and accounting staff. Inbound commodity shipments are split between trucking and railway. Outgoing shipments generally travel through the rail system on a Kansas and Oklahoma railcar. Fullerton said Bartlett grain handles grain shipments throughout the year because customers require shipments periodically.
The current five silos’ storage can hold 2.6 million bushels of wheat, and can load 110 car shuttle trains. Bartlett Grain has invested more than $20 million in a five-silo and office and shop complex between Great Bend and Ellinwood.
The rail system is well equipped with state-of-the art safety and technology with computers analyzing and testing shipments. Rail shipments are tested and analyzed by independent testers from The Kansas Grain Inspection Service. KGIS serves producers, handlers, exporters, importers and end-users of grain. They verify the quality and quantity of the shipment.