Record crop yields in Ellis County and the surrounding area mean that Midland Marketing Co-op Inc. will continue adding more grain storage capacity at its 11 elevators.


“We’re looking at new construction every day,” said Midland Marketing Chairman of the Board Brian Staab, who farms north of Hays.


Speaking Thursday evening to a crowd of 500 at the cooperative’s 105th annual meeting, Staab said the farmer-owned co-op is trying to put new facilities in areas that most accommodate the membership.


“It doesn’t look like these yields are going to change,” Staab told the crowd gathered for dinner and the meeting in the adjoining Schenk and Unrein buildings at the Ellis County Fair Grounds.


“They’re going to probably become larger as we go through the years. The technology and genetics of these crops are just fantastic,” he said. “What we see, chemicals, fertilizer, and what our farmers can do with their land, is just amazing this day and age. Years ago, a piece of land that we thought could only do 20 bushels an acre, is turning out 50 to 60 bushels an acre, just by how we treat it today.”


Midland is in the process of building a bin in Plainville, with the hope it’ll be up and running by wheat harvest this summer, if weather cooperates, Staab said.


Midland in 2019 took in its 10th-largest wheat crop in the co-op’s 105-year history, he said.


With everyone’s efficiencies increasing in crop production, Midland Marketing continues to see yields increase, said General Manager Kevin Royer.


“2019 was a challenging year for everyone in agriculture,” Royer said. “Our area was blessed with moisture for most of the year, which made spring planting tough, but a very bountiful fall harvest at the end of the day.”


The co-op in 2019 boosted its total storage capacity of 10.5 million bushels to more than 13 million bushels, Royer said.


“The cooperative took in 6.6 million bushels of wheat and slightly over 12 million of fall crop,” he said. “Six million of that came in in 11 days, so it was very fast paced.”


Facility updates in 2019 included completion of the main bushel facility at Palco, bunker storage at La Crosse adding nearly 1 million bushels, and new scales and offices at Brownell and McCracken, Royer said.


Palco, with 2.67 million bushel capacity, and La Crosse, with 2.09 million, have the most storage capacity of the 11, according to the co-op’s annual statement.


More ground piles of milo were also created at facilities and in the trade territory, Staab said. The elevators are having to get grain in and back out quickly since they are handling two and three crops, he said.


“We took in the largest fall crop on record,” in 2019, Staab said, noting the fall crop alone was 12.3 million bushels. “We took in a combination of 19.1 million bushels for all of our crops throughout the year.”


Midland added more than $10 million in assets over the past two years, according to accountant Brian Mapel, Hays, with financial services firm Lindburg Vogel Pierce Faris Chartered.


Grain sales for 2019 totaled $84.3 million, Mapel said, an increase of more than $9.4 million compared to $74.8 million in 2018.


Net earnings in 2019 were $4.55 million compared to $3.99 million in 2018, he said.


The co-op’s total assets for 2019 were $62.07 million, Mapel said.


The co-op, Royer said, which has more than 900 members, returned more than $2.1 million in patronage and revolving funds from the past years to its members on Thursday evening.


Midland has elevators in Brownell, Hargrave, Hays, La Crosse, McCracken, Natoma, Palco, Plainville, Toulon, Yocemento and Zurich.