Wednesday
Dec232015

From the Manager - December 2015

What a perfect Fall Harvest Season! The good Lord not only gave us a bountiful crop to harvest, but gave us the perfect weather to complete the task. We have just celebrated Thanksgiving and we have much to be thankful for, not only an ideal harvest, but our friends and family. We are truly blessed to live in this country, where God has so richly blessed us.

In preparation for this record crop, it has been a busy summer and fall. In May we started with the remodel of the south concrete elevator. The Board of Directors has made major investments to improve the speed in which we can dump your grain, as well as handling and storage of grain. In order to dump your grain faster, we updated both the legs in the south cement house to take 20,000 bushels/hour each, a new dump through scale and the equipment on top to handle the grain as fast as we could dump. (This allows us to weigh a full semi, dump the semi and weigh the empty semi in approximately a total of three minutes.) We also added a new 380,000 bushel grain storage bin. This much needed update came at the right time. We took in a record number soybean bushels this fall, as well as a near record corn crop. We were able to fill our upright storage, as well as both bunkers. On behalf of all the employees, thank you for your patience and cooperation in making this one our biggest fall harvests in our 100+ year history.

Now our efforts will have to turn to marketing this bumper crop. If the government reports are to be believed, we have a burdensome supply of grain and oilseeds in the world. A lot of issues will effect grain price movement this year: value of the dollar, weather in the US, weather in the rest of the world, politics in the US as well as around the world and many more issues. My best advice is to get acquainted with Jory Bossuyt, our new grain merchandiser. His main objective is to help you market your grain.

The excellent fall weather also helped the agronomy people to get their fertilizer spread and NH3 applied in a timely manner. A big thank you for your patience and cooperation. For all your agronomy needs, check with Brooks. Check with Brooks and Jory on how the EET Grain/Agronomy Loyalty Program will fit your operation.

The year 2015 has been extremely busy at Equity Elevator, but I do not want to overlook Carroll Kuehn and George Neville, who both chose to retire in this past year. Carroll retired around June 1 and George retired at the end of October. On behalf of the Board of Directors, employees and members, we want to thank both Carroll and George for their years of valuable service and contributions to the success of Equity Elevator. We wish them 'all the best' in their retirement; they both deserve it.

As this year comes to an end and we get ready to celebrate the Holiday Season, remember to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Even though it may not be politically correct, it is 'correct' to celebrate the birth of our Savior and share that joy with others.  Wishing you and your loved ones a BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

“TOGETHER WE CAN BE SUCESSFUL”

Rod Winter
General Manager

Friday
Apr032015

From the Manager - April 2015

Spring is surely coming upon us in a hurry, but can’t come too soon to suit me. It won’t be long before we are in the fields planting, mowing the grass and hay, or just enjoying some nice weather outdoors with our friends and families. 

Along with spring comes new starts, and here at Equity Elevator we are going to experience a huge new start. The Board of Directors has authorized the remodeling of the South Elevator to speed up our ability to weigh and dump grain. This extensive remodeling project will include: two 20,000 bu./hr grain legs, new conveyors on top of the South Concrete to handle dumping 20,000 bu./hr, new 20,000 bu./hr double swing set distributor, new grain cleaner, a new pit that will allow us to dump semi trailers without moving, as well as a new electronic scale. This project will start shortly after the first of May and will be finished before soybean harvest in the fall.

This seems like a major undertaking, and it is.  During this project, WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DUMP GRAIN IN THE SOUTH ALLEY. We will be limited to dumping in the North Alley where we currently unload feed ingredients and load finished feed out in our bulk trucks. As you can see this will require a lot of coordination and severely limit the amount of grain we will be able to handle during the construction period this summer. This is also the reason we are not able to open up for 'Free Price Later' for corn. We simply will not be able to use the steel bin or cement silos on the south side during the construction period. We ask for your patience and cooperation to work through and complete this extensive remodel and update.

During this period, contact Travis and he will be able to help you with marketing, including direct ship. He will have trucks available to move your grain. Call him and let him help you develop a marketing plan for moving your grain.

I realize this is going to be a giant inconvenience this summer, but by harvest it will pay big dividends by allowing us to dump your grain faster and get you back to the combine in timely manner. The Board of Directors realizes that for Equity Elevator to continue being successful it is vital to invest money in the assets that will have a good return as well as better serve the member-owners. Hopefully, as we move forward, this will be only the beginning of improving and expanding Equity’s facilities and services to provide you, the members, with the tools necessary for your success. 

If you have any questions, please contact me and I would be more than happy to discuss this project or any other items you would like to visit about.

Now is the time to set up your fertilizer and chemical application programs with Brooks. With spring looking like it may be on time this year and we want to make sure we take care of your needs on a timely basis. Planning now can save valuable time when we get in the heat of the season.

“TOGETHER WE CAN BE SUCESSFUL”

Rod Winter
General Manager

Monday
Nov172014

From the Manager - November 2014

The '2014 Grain Harvest' is behind us and now it is time to focus on marketing. Many grain analysts have been totally surprised at the October rally and find it difficult to explain. With the USDA’s projected 'record' production numbers in both corn and soybeans, this market doesn’t fit our idea of the way things are supposed to work. 

Looking at corn:  On the surface a carryout number like 2 billion bushels would seem very 'bearish'. But, looking at the big picture it is conceivable that it may not burden the market as much as you might think. It has not been too many years ago that a 10 billion bushel corn would pretty well choke us. That was before ethanol production came on the scene along with a bigger global appetite. Today we will use 5-6 billon bushels for ethanol production and another 5 billion for feed production, let alone export demands. Today there is record global demand, due in large part to the price decrease over the last several years. I think you could see the current prices level off through the winter into the spring. I also think the key to making or breaking this year’s corn market is 2015 weather, which will affect us in the spring and summer markets of 2015. If the US or China encounter any kind of weather to adversely affect our corn harvest a year from now, it will drive our summer prices up. Conversely if the US or China experience weather that gives us a trend line or above fall yields, we could see prices soften up next summer. As you formulate your marketing plan you need to pay attention to all these factors. One comment I would make is that in the Wood Lake area we did not have a record crop in any way, shape or form. At the same time as I visit with other managers in the western corn belt, nobody is bragging about yields or how big their ground piles are. Apparently the bumper crop is confined to the eastern corn belt. 

Looking at soybeans:  Soybeans are an even more interesting dynamic. According to USDA, we just experienced a record yield in the US, yet processors are having trouble buying enough soybeans to crush to meet the demand for soybean meal. Be careful, we could easily catch up to demand and this strong soybean market could fall like a house of cards. Export demand and domestic demand are fueling the market right now. Much like corn, soybean usage is better than in years past, which means we can utilize more bushels than we used to, and it is a good thing. We had record soybean yields this year and harvested a 4 billion bushels soybean crop. On the surface, this would also appear 'bearish', but do not underestimate demand. One interesting thing I recently saw was how one commodity's guess is already pegging soybean acres equal to corn acres next year. It will be interesting over the winter to see how prices try to buy acres for 2015 production.  

Fertilizer Comments:  I have heard some talk about cutting fertilizer rates, waiting until next spring to have the option to change planting intentions or simply waiting for the fertilizer prices to come down. A few things to keep in mind... 1) Keep your 'bases loaded'. Make sure you have adequate nutrients available in case we do have that record year. Make sure you know where your soil levels are at and adjust your fertilizer accordingly. Wise use of fertilizer is part of a good crop production plan. 2) Waiting until spring may make good sense, if you can change up your rotation without hurting yourself in the future. 3) Prices could get cheaper; I don’t know. But a couple things that could temper that are transportation and manufacturing.  At this point in time it doesn’t look like the railroad will necessarily be our friend when the crunch is on. It looks like we will have to depend on the river and trucks to keep things working. Manufacturing is an interesting thing to take a look at. Over the years we have put a lot of the manufacturers out of business with fertilizer cost wars, due to a flood of material on the market. Today we have fewer players in the phosphate and potash industries and I feel they will slow down production to match demand and maintain their profitability. These are just a few things to consider. Please feel free to stop in and visit with Brooks or myself at any time about your crop production plans.

Thanks all for checking in, and stay safe this winter season!

Rod Winter
General Manager