The EGT facility in Sidney has a new bucket elevator rated at 60,000 bushels an hour at full capacity.
“We can dump a fully loaded semi in three minutes,” EGT Grain Elevator Manager Gordon Holt told producers during a recent MonDak Ag Research Summit presentation. “We’re loading rail cars, an entire rail car, which is about 3,500 bushels every four minutes.”
That kind of speed is just what Holt believes the region needs to keep up with its potential.
“When we came into Sidney, it was an area that we felt had huge potential for growth,” Holt said. “You know we always hear farmers want competition, they want options. And since we’ve gotten here, we’ve been able to give them both. We’re rapidly growing.”
EGT is a joint venture between parent company Bunge, an American-run grain company that’s one of the largest in the world, and Pan Ocean, a shipping and logistics company operating in the Pacific Ocean. It formed in 2011 to build the first new export terminal in 25 years in the United States, with designs on the Pacific Northwest market, That’s China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan, of course. The terminal is also ideally situated to ship to South America as well.
Along with this brand new export terminal, EGT also built three new shuttle loaders in Montana, as well as purchasing the Sidney elevator from Anheuser Busch in 2018, which was built in 2003.
These days the former barley elevator has more diversity. It’s now handling spring wheat, winter wheat, and soybeans. There are plans to add durum as well this summer.
“That just gives farmers another option, and more competition in the area for all the different crops that are grown over here,” Holt said.
Most of the commodities taken in by the Sidney elevator will be heading to that brand new, Longview export terminal for eventual transport to the Pacific Rim and Asian countries.
Durum will be the likely exception. It’s more apt to head east to the domestic milling market.
Coinciding with EGT’s entry in the MonDak has been a marked rise in soybean acres.
“I’m sure having a new market here in Sidney helped with that,” Holt said.
Other things like crop insurance and market conditions were also contributing factors.
Holt believes, with trade wars getting worked out and futures prices improving, that the MonDak’s growth in soybean acres is likely to continue.
“We are definitely heading in a better direction (price wise),” Holt said. “And I know a lot of guys are looking at wanting to add soybeans as a potential rotational crop or potentially, you know in our area here in Sidney in the irrigated Valley, potentially replacing some sugar beet acres with beans, if we can maintain these kind of (price) levels.”
Soybean, unlike wheat, generally requires some irrigation to ensure moisture at critical growth stages. In general, it would play well with the MonDak’s sugarbeet rotations, which also requires irrigation to do well.
EGT offers a variety of contract options to growers. There’s Hedge to Arrive, where sellers can lock in a futures price in 5,000 bushel increments, and there are basis contracts. There’s also plain old flat cash contracts and sell orders, where you can lock in sales at particular prices in 5,000-bushel increments.