Growing corn is suddenly a risky proposition. Experts have signaled the "grain boom" is over.
Locking in profit is the name of the game moving forward. AgYield, a free web-based service, holds a lot of potential for making those decisions.
At the heart of AgYield is their Forecast Matrix. AgYield's Chris Beavers explains growers can layer what-if scenarios on top of each other to help clarify profitability. The program helps growers work through cash sales, futures and options trades and even crop insurance coverage to create the best strategy. It doesn't stop there.
Growers can save multiple marketing strategies and tweak them throughout the season. As various options are keyed in, Beavers notes the Forecast Matrix clearly identifies profitability by highlighting it in green.
"The overall goal is to get the entire Forecast Matrix to the green," Beavers explains.
Alternatively, AgYield professionals can make recommendations to help growers develop their strategy, while managing the grower's AgYield account.
For many, the most important part of the exercise will be establishing a cost of production, which is located under the "Land and Crops" heading.
AgYield's data entry protocols are highly customizable. Growers who don't know their cost of production can make the most of the 20 line items for the most accurate estimate possible.
"If you have no idea what your cost of production is, we will help you get in the ballpark," Beavers says.
For growers who are already maintaining a highly advanced spreadsheet for cost of production figures, Beavers says it's as easy as entering the number into the cost of production line in the AgYield program. There's no need to re-enter all of those numbers.
The AgYield system is web-based , so it can be accessed from anywhere. There is no need to download a program. Everything can be accessed through a web browser.
Clue in the banker
Shared access is another benefit with AgYield. That means a banker can have a look at the operation with the grower's permission.
Gerry Bertrand, ag loan officer for First National Bank of Nokomis – Ayars Branch, says using AgYield to give bankers a snapshot of the farm's financial health is "dynamite."
"This tool can help the lender understand margin calls and where the money is at any moment," Bertrand adds. "We needed something like this."
As part of that, Beavers explains bankers will be able to conduct stress tests on client accounts to tease out vulnerabilities.
Beavers notes growers can go share their data with more than just the banker. Agronomists, market advisors, grain originators, etc. could be on that list. At the grower's request, AgYield can send catered reports to select individuals. So, the grower determines who sees what information from the AgYield account. Access can be revoked at any time.
Currently, AgYield is completely free. Beavers says the intent is to always offer a free version. However, by January, the group will roll out updated features and functionality, not only for the individual grower, but for the service provider. The new features will include local weather, news, live or delayed futures quotes and a simulator that will condense a growing season to just a few weeks for educational purposes. a subscription service to provide growers recommendations and input.
AgYield also plans to offer an anonymous benchmark component in the future. In a glance, growers will be able to see how they measure up in terms of pre-harvest sales compared to other farms in the area.
Beavers says the big update and proposed pricing structure will be rolled out in mid-January. In the meantime, visit www.agyield.com to sign up for a free account.