Quality Grains Bring Quality Profits

In farming increasing yields is the end game.  This year, in particular, yield quantities may be quite variable in eastern South Dakota.  With markedly low commodity prices and an early harvest of both corn and beans, grain storage for longer than average periods can be expected.

As a Pioneer Seed sales rep I spend my days helping corn and soybean growers achieve their goals of maximum grain production while increasing efficiencies and decreasing risks.   In fact, providing growers with the right products for their acres, seed protection, and technology tools to improve planting accuracy, and data collection and analysis, as well as risk management options from crop insurance products, is part of Bauman Agency’s philosophy to assist in making the greatest possible profit from our products.

As we prepare to bin the 2018 crop, we need to remember some of the lessons learned from past storage challenges.  Bauman Agency tries to provide helpful information to “insure” your continued success.  With that in mind, earlier this month, we brought in John Gnadke of Advance Grain Systems, Inc., from Ankeny, IA.    John has devoted his career to the grain drying and storage business in the US and Canada.  He consults with some of the largest grain companies yet also knows the challenges of small farm bins and gives helpful insights into each individual’s unique storage needs.

Raising a bumper crop, putting it into a bin, and then not checking it regularly is a common theme that John sees across the US.  He says that if we had a 5 gallon pail of cash sitting just inside the door of our bins, we would be much more willing to go, open the door and check to see that it is still in there.  The opportunity to capture a premium on quality grain can quickly turn into a discount due to musty odor or 2-3% damage by allowing a crust to form on the top.

Grain Bins, Probably Without Buckets of Cash

We need to prepare to possibly store the 2018 crop, deep into 2019, before a market potentially opens up at a profitable level. Take steps to put the grain in the bin in good shape and then develop a plan of action to keep it that way.

The most important aspect of grain handling and storage is your safety!  Grain inspection should always involve two people one inside the bin and the other outside on standby.  Before entering a grain storage area, make sure bin ladders are safe climbing condition, shut down all electrical power, fans, and unloading equipment, wear an air filtration mask to protect yourself from toxic molds, and be sure your footwear is clear of mud or snow when climbing bin ladders.  Protecting your health and life are critical to the success of your farming operation and your family’s happiness.  Please be careful.   Here’s to a safe harvest of both quality and quantity.  Enjoy!

Image Credit: Michael Curi

Dreamin’ of a Long Winter’s Nap?

“T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…And mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winters nap…..”


Ahhh! Those were the good ol’ days! Remember when we purchased our seed in February? Remember when Pioneer was owned by Pioneer and John Deere just sold machinery? Remember when Congress acted? As I remember it, life was simpler then. But, I’ve got no time for reminiscing!

The combine needs to be cleaned. Planter units need to be removed from the planter, checked, cleaned and calibrated before they can be tucked in for winter. Strip tilling needs doing before the snow flies. Fence needs fixin’. Hay needs haulin’.

My crop insurance agent wants my production – yesterday. I need to meet with the tax preparer so I know what to do before the end of the year, and the banker is getting impatient. Which reminds me, my iPad is still in the combine.

Wait a minute there’s a text comin’ in on my smart phone. Corn is up! Wait, here comes another one. Corn is down. Excuse me, I have to check my Twitter feed. Hmm looks like South America’s soybean crop may be a good one. Now to check this web page to see what the EPA is up to today.

I’ve got someone’s 20/20 here and need to analyze some data for them. First glance tells me the stand was poor, not enough down pressure. Was there enough nitrogen to meet their yield goal? Got a Facebook Christmas greeting from my cousin in Oregon announcing that she’s sworn off GMO’s, red meat, and high fructose corn syrup, and is eating organic, and strictly from the grocery store, just to be safe. (Hope she washes her lettuce reeeal good!) Here’s another text. Margins are tight. I already knew that one!

All of this “incoming” information lands in our laps while at the same time we find ourselves in a tight-margin world. Our heads aren’t just swimming, they hurt! Just as farmers are looking at ways to increase efficiencies and still increase yields to be profitable, so are ag companies. News or rumors of potential mergers, sell offs, or purchases are common place in today’s ag news. The tight margin environment is true for the farmer and his supplier.

Earlier this month Precision Planting, a Monsanto owned company that produces after-market technologies for planters, was purchased by John Deere. We can speculate on why this change in mega corporation ownership occurred, or theorize that the purchase was to eliminate competition. But my long winter’s nap will be more easily attained if I take the view that John Deere recognizes the “tight margin” environment for the ag producer today and is aware that many farmers will need to make adjustments to current equipment, rather than trade for new.

What can be done to sort out all of this information and make an action plan for a profitable 2016? Count on your team of advisors. Your seed supplier, your agronomy support specialist, your equipment and technology providers, your financial advisors and your crop insurance agent will all be helpful in developing a workable plan.

With that in mind, consider attending the Planting Clinic we are hosting December 15th at our Bauman Agency Service Center 9 miles north of Huron. We will help you sort out the incoming and provide valuable assistance in planning for a successful outcome in 2016. Most of all, you’ll sleep like a baby during that long winter’s nap!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Image Credit: Kanko*