Thursday
Apr032014

From the Manager - April 2014

It has been a long, cold winter and I for one have had enough. These sunshiny, warm days we have just experienced have served only to stimulate our appetite for more. But, nice weather is just around the corner and before we know it we will be in the field and will have long forgotten the below zero days, the whiteouts and the icy roads and highways. Thank God for the changing of the seasons!

We recently finished up our six month audit and the results were pretty much what we expected. We are right on track with our budget and so far the year looks very similar to last year. That being said, we still have six months of business before we close our books for the fiscal year. Right now we are hoping for a good spring and productive summer. Several things to note about our first six months was that even though we took in the same amount of fall corn as we did in 2012, we marketed a lot less, due to the fact that the farmers retained ownership of the corn through the end of the year and the beginning of the new year. We have seen a pickup in corn sales recently with the spike in the price and I am hopeful that we will be able to move a lot of this corn out before harvest, thus making more room. Soybeans, on the other hand, have been moving at a steady pace, and at the end of our six month audit our sales were within a few thousand bushels of a year ago. Fall fertilizer tonnage was down a little from a year ago, based on the fact that producers are looking at spreading out their nitrogen applications over several different times during the season hoping to get the most bang for their 'nitrogen buck.' Keep in mind that Brooks and the guys can play an important part in your nitrogen side dressing program with the new Miller Tool Bar for putting down 28%. Contact Brooks and get your spot on the fast growing side dressing list.

GRAIN:  The grain world is currently caught up with the happenings in the Ukraine with Russia, the “Planting Intentions Report” due out on March 31 and the same as every other year, “Weather.” All unknowns at this time, but important to setting the tone of the market. Although no one knows exactly what will happen, there are things to keep in mind. 1) Rest assured if Russia wants Ukraine there is not much the rest of the world is going to do to stop them. Europe is not going to be able to do much as they depend on Russia for natural gas and they also want their grain. So, in effect, the grain will keep flowing through, thus not creating the marketing flow interruption that many were thinking was going to happen. Thus, I doubt there will be a long lasting effect on grain prices (mostly wheat and corn). 2) “Planting Intentions Report,” which will be out on March 31, will probably not tell us anything we do not already know. So long term this would probably not help support prices, but more likely contribute to putting downward pressure on prices. And 3) Weather, on the other hand, will be the wild card with commodity pricing as we go forward. Delayed planting, lack of rain, lack of sunshine and warm weather, too much rain, early frost or anything else you can think of will be what shapes markets from here on out for the 2014. At this point no one really knows what the weather will be, but it will be important to keep abreast of the markets and watch what is going on around you and maybe consider marketing a portion of your crops on rallies, if it will produce some kind of a profit. Keep an open mind and think about marketing as a year-round function. 

FERTILIZER:  The price of all the fertilizers has moved up since last fall. Not only has the industry been able to get prices turned around, but logistics is also going to run prices up and make product hard to get a hold of in the spring. With the problems the railroads are having coupled with late thaws on our major waterways, we could see transportation as one of the biggest challenges in the business. EET should be in pretty good shape. The only product we will need in season is urea. As of now, we have things scheduled in a timely manner. Hopefully it stays that way, but the truth is we can still be subject to transportation problems.

During March, April and May we have numerous holidays such as St. Patrick’s, Start of Spring, Administrative Professionals Day, May Day, and Memorial Day. But, none is more important than Easter and Mothers Day. Easter celebrates the forgiveness of our sins and our assurance of eternal life. Mother’s Day celebrates the most important person God has put in our life. A mother is indeed a 'special person.' My Mother is indeed a 'special Person.' My mother is currently 85 years old and has Alzheimer’s. When I visit her, she seldom recognizes me. But, those are not the things that make her special. Mom is special because she has been a good wife, partner and friend for my Dad. Mom has been a good Mother, giving birth to five children, and willing to 'mother' many more other kids. Mom has been a terrific grandmother to ten of her own grandchildren, as well as many more looking for a grandmother (including the different foster children my wife and I brought home over the years, treating them all as if they were her very own). Mom has been a loving great grandmother to currently seventeen great grandchildren and still counting. My mother is indeed a 'special person!' I recently found a poem my mom had taped on the refrigerator at the farm. It sums up my her spirit, as well as many of your own mother’s spirits...

Grandmother’s Day

Grandma, on a winter’s day, slopped the hogs, saddled the mule:

Got the children off to school:

Did a washing, mopped the floors:

Washed some windows and did some chores.

 

Cooked a dish of home-dried fruit:

Pressed her husband’s Sunday suit:

Swept the parlor, made the bed

Baked a dozen loaves of bread:

Split some wood, lugged it in:

Enough to fill the kitchen bin.

 

Cleaned the lamps and put in oil:

Stewed some apples she thought would spoil:

Churned some butter and baked a cake;

Then exclaimed “For mercy sake!”

The calves have gotten out of the pen:

Went out and put them in again.

 

She opened the organ and began to play:

“When you come to the end of a perfect day.”

 

Anon.

 

Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11 - Honor your Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother
Truly God’s 'Special Person'!

 

Rod Winter, General Manager
“Together We Can Be Successful’

Friday
Dec202013

From the Manager - December 2013

From everyone at Equity Elevator, we are wishing you a BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR. This is the time of year to stop, reflect and give thanks for all that we have been blessed with. The biggest blessing of all was the Birth of Jesus Christ.  Born in a lowly stable to a common man and a peasant girl, not what you would think of as the entrance of God’s only Begotten Son, sent to save the world. This humble beginning serves to remind us of our humility and reflect on why we should truly be thankful during this joyous season.

It seems like a long time since our last newsletter, we’ve completed harvest and applied a lot of dry fertilizer and NH3, while the Feed business continues to be steady every day. This fall we took in a few more bushels of corn than we did a year ago. Some people are surprised at this because we did not completely fill the north bunker, but our storage up town was all but empty, when harvest started. Soybeans on the other hand, we took in about 90% of what we did last year. Overall, it was a good fall for Equity, the crop is put away and no one was injured in the process. Hopefully your harvest at home went the same way.

As we start a new year, and continue to look for new ways that we can add value to your operation, I would invite each of you to come in, sit down and share your input on what we can do to further improve Equity Elevator. As the Board of Directors look at the long term survivability, sorting through issues that will improve what you the member want and need, while balancing that against what our balance sheet will support, is real challenge. Nonetheless, it is what we have to do to move forward.

An example of thinking ahead and offering the members services that will add value to their operations, is the purchase of a new Miller Sprayer that will offer pre/post spraying, drop spraying and 28% Nitrogen application. Side dressing nitrogen will allow you to get the biggest bang for your nitrogen buck, as well as help in preserving our ground water. Although you are already very environmentally conscious, the rules will keep pushing for more precision in formulation and application of plant nutrients. To find out how you can take advantage of these new services, contact Brooks and the guys in the Agronomy department for more details.

On the grain front, the $64,000,000 question is where are these markets going to take us? At this point it is anybody’s guess. What we do know is that the government is telling us we have very burdensome corn inventories, but with lower grain prices bring more worldwide demand and stimulates the livestock industry. Soybeans on the other hand show a lot tighter inventory numbers, but what will the South American crop be? More unknowns than known, but that makes it more important than ever to pay attention to the markets and have a plan in place that will allow you to stay in the business. Keep in touch with Travis and stay abreast of current grain markets and news. Being well informed is the first step in your marketing plan.

Your livestock operations will have opportunities this coming year to use feed ingredients that will help keep your cost of production down. Questions you need to be asking are: Will DDG’s be a good buy now with the lower price of corn? Is Soybean Meal the best protein source available for the value? Where is my breakeven? And, what combinations of feedstuffs will give me the best cost of gain? Tom is the man that can help you answer these questions, by determining what will work best for your operation. The economists claim that the livestock markets, including milk, should be favorable this coming year, make sure the markets work for you.

I will close by wishing all of you a BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!!

“TOGETHER WE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL”

Rod Winter
General Manager

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