Increased grain production in Viking area prompts elevator expansion

Decision to expand based on two-year market analysis of crop availability

Cargill is undertaking a major expansion of its Viking elevator.

Storage will nearly double — from 13,640 tonnes to 23,400 tonnes — and the railspot capacity will be increased to 100 cars from the current 52, said Ryan Dechief, general manager of the facility.

“Compared to Pioneer or Viterra, we have one of the smaller railspots in the region,” Dechief said. “This will put us on par with them.”

The Viking facility is already a pretty efficient facility for its size, said Dechief, turning 13,640 tonnes 11 or 12 times each year.

“It’s fortuitous that we’re expanding in a year where there was a big crop, but that did not play into our decision,” Ryan Dechief.

“We actually had the highest number of turns of any Cargill elevator in Canada last year and we’ve done that several times in the past few years,” Dechief said. “It’s one of the highest-use facilities that we have. We feel that the area is definitely providing more grain.”

Construction will begin early this year and take between 12 to 14 months to complete. The expansion has been under study for two years and isn’t related to the bumper 2013 harvest, he said.

“The decision was based on long-term, in-depth analysis of the productivity of the region,” said Dechief. “It’s fortuitous that we’re expanding in a year where there was a big crop, but that did not play into our decision.”

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The Viking facility is on the CN rail line, and ships mainly to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. Producers who deliver to the elevator come from a 60-mile radius, an area that takes in Irma, Provost, Two Hills, Wainwright and Ryley. The completed facility will also include a 13,000-tonne fertilizer shed and a crop inputs product warehouse. In addition to this expansion, Cargill is also building a grain elevator and crop inputs facility in McLennan.

Cargill isn’t the only company increasing storage capacity. Viterra recently purchased the Lethbridge Inland Terminal and announced in November that it will be spending $34 million to expand its facility in Grassy Lake and build a high-throughput terminal in Grimshaw.

About the author


Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, she has also published two collections of poetry and a biography about a Sikh civil rights activist. Her freelance work has appeared in numerous publications across Canada.


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