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Winter cold can’t stop specialty crop trucking commitments victorass88/iStock/Thinkstock

Winter cold can’t stop specialty crop trucking commitments

Sub zero temps freeze conveyer motor, forcing delays

For those of you who are unfamiliar, a buyers’ call is pretty common in specialty crops. In this case it was time to ship in some soybean seed for processing. It caught up with us this week as we pushed it off and used last week to get caught up on other trucking commitments. We were able to get trucks and conveyors cleaned out. But little did we expect the temperatures to turn so cold. We spent three hours in sub zero temps Wednesday trying to get the gas motor on the conveyor started so we could load trucks. Did I mention there were trucks waiting on us? We finally gave up and pulled it in the shop where it took only five minutes of a salamander heater pointed at it to get it started.

Needless to say, I left it run the rest of day until all the trucks were loaded!

Limited 2018 opportunities

As we look forward to next year, I finally have some hard numbers to support my suspicions. Value adding opportunities for specialty crops seem to be limited. Most of the bonus has been squeezed out. As we finalize plans for 2018, it appears we are going to continue down the road with non-gmo corn. Though in the worst case (where weed pressure requires a late third application), the additional $19 per acre chemical costs are still outweighed by $32 trait expense (and that is to a double stack).  

Though small, there is still the opportunity for a premium in addition to the cost savings.

When examining soybeans, there is very little cost differential to put out the crop. Seed costs for non gmo beans are only $10-15 per acre less, and chemistry eats up most of that. We are unsure we will grow non-gmo seed beans as (presumably) the only bean that will be offered to us is no longer keeping pace with newer genetics. Premiums continue to fall on other outlets for non-gmo soybeans. As a result, approximately half of our bean acres will be traited. Our ‘problem children’ fields will no longer be problems.

There was a glimmer of hope injected today. I’ve heard rumors of a new specialty crop coming to the area. I couldn’t get any information other than that. I don’t even know if it is a grain crop. None the less, I volunteered to be a guinea pig. We’ll see where that takes us!

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