A robust transportation network affords Washington small grain farmers the ability to move grain to export facilities efficiently and competitively by rail and along the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
During harvest, most grain moves from Washington’s wheat and barley farms to local storage facilities where it is stored and marketed. Some operations have on-site storage capacity.
As grain arrives at storage facilities, it can be analyzed and separated by its specific qualities before being put in silos or grain piles.
Grain piles are covered after harvest to protect the wheat from winter weather until it is shipped.
Wheat is transported to larger shuttle facilities where it is loaded onto trains or river barges and sent to export facilities.
Each train has 110 cars and can haul over 10,000 tons of wheat. Four barge tows can transport 14,000 tons of wheat down the Lower Snake and Columbia Rivers at one time.
Barges move up and down the river system through a series of navigational locks that raise and lower the tow depending on the direction it is heading.
The Pacific Northwest’s efficient transportation network means wheat and barley arrive at their final destination with minimal impact to the environment and road infrastructure.