Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I took a spin to Cargill Grain on Kellogg Avenue this morning with a load of soybeans. It is 42 miles one way and figures into our cost of production. Right now it is the best money we are spending even with high diesel fuel costs.
I don't normally run that route so it was good to see my friends from the north and east of us here in Martinsville. I got to see my old friend Super Duper Cooper hauling Mike Clark's grain from Dayton. Coop is one fine super guy. I first met him in the 80's when I was the county extension agent up that way.
Luttrell Farms, Blanton Farms, Lutmer Farms, Malott Farms, Stahl Farms, so many friends were unloading grain. Markets are really good today and farmers are taking advantage of it. Pretty much record high grain prices across the board. My sell singal algorism went off and tells me to sell 1/4 of this years crop and a little 2012 and 2013 if I can do it.
Farmers are riding high in the saddle right now but before you think we are all rich, remember our cost of production. Land price, rent, tiling, seed, fertilizer and chemicals always leave us at 3-5% margin. On a good year we might make 10% and the more successful farmers have a real knack of doing that.
The weather is warm for January, the roads are damp and the traffic was pretty light for Cincinnati east. You pull in, roll the tarp over on your trailer and go get probed. A man sits in a booth and directs a grain probe with TV cameras into your load without hurting your trailer hopefully and the sample is vacuumed into his booth where he measures moisture, test weight and grain quality.
You leave the probing area and make a hard turn to the booth he is sitting in to weigh your gross load and give him your load information as to who owns the grain, how to sell it, and who to pay the trucking fee to. 30 cents per bushel is probably a fair charge to haul that easy 42 mile run from our farm.
Then you pull into the pit they tell you to pull into and unload your grain. It just takes seconds to unload 900 bushels of grain or so. There was little dust today, some days it can be bad.
You then pull across the scale again to get your tare or empty weight so they can caluclate gross pounds of grain delivered and net bushels you will be paid for.
Many drivers do this for a living, many part time or even farmers grow and truck their own grain. I saw a barge load moving pretty fast down the Ohio River and was reminded of the huge impact farmers have on our economy. It is awesome.
Now I am home and it is back to work on the hard for me, paying bills and calculating figures and management plans.