Wasn't it Jimmy Carter who nixed the metric system here in the US? Can't blame George W. Bush for that one.
You are correct Hobby.
Paid on weight.
If people quit talking 'bushels' and said 56 or 60 lb units then they would not get confused. Does not matter what size the container is the pay is on weight.
Look at the scale weight that is what you get paid on with a discount for quality or on occassion a premium.
And if you catch up to the rest of the world and weigh it in kilograms then you would just talk tonnes per hectare for yield and no need to convert anything.
had a neighbor who stored grain in a dirt floor roundtop for years. Hauled it in to the elevator a load at a time during winter. After several years there was a ramp in one end of the shed and the bottom of the shed was 3-4 feet below the foundation. Farmers story was he was increasing the holding capacity of his grain storage. Elevator owner said he was improving his test weight.
A short ton is 2000 pounds
A long ton is 2240 pounds or 40 bu of corn at 56 pounds
There are a handful of conversion factors for pounds in a metric ton.
2204.7244 lbs / MT
It all depends on the buyer, but in the end it doesn't matter much when you are talking about an ocean going vessel that's
taking 50,000 to 70,000 metric tons. At least it doesn't matter much to an export trader. The difference between 2204.6 and 2204.7244 on a 65,000 MT vessel is 65,000 x 0.1244 LB = 8086 pounds or 134.77 bu. if it's beans or 144.39 for corn. Again not much between the two.
It's such a small fraction when you are talking about a vessel that is taking about 2,388,316 bu. of beans that it doesn't matter to the trader's plans or hedging.
For the most part there are 3 ranges of vessels
Handy size 25,000 - 40,000 metric tons
Panamax 50,000 - 65,000 (maybe a few that will push 70,000)
Cape size 70,000 +
Most grain boats stop there but once in a great while you might get one that will take close to 100,000 mt
The Handy size boats will often go to Mexico and central America region
The Panamaxs are the vast majority that go to China and Japan and they are going to take in the upper 50's to mid 60's
If you figure the Handy and Panamax vessels are going to average each other out,an ocean going vessel it probably going to run from 1.8 to 2.4 million bu. So for a rule of thumb figure an ocean going vessel is going to be about 2 million bu. and to keep it easy call that 50,000 metric tons. 50,000 mt of beans is really 1,.837,166 bu. but remember we are talking billions of bu. for the entire crop each year so again it ends up being a small fraction.
So with a rule of thumb being 50,000 MT = 2 milion bu.
Thats ONE HUNDRED 20,000 bu grain bins or
FORTY 50,000 bu grain bins
You pick your grain bin size and do the math.
It would take 500 vessels to load 1 billion bu of grain.
You can take it from there to imagine how many railcars or trucks or combine loads it takes.
In the end, the biggest guy in the area is barely a tiny fraction of things and the little guy with a hundred acres or so that he's renting out is barely the difference in the conversion factor on a handful of boats.
The problem isn't so much what system we use, but rather to get everyone to use the same system. When USDA reports come out and in one report they size it up in mmts and next one is millions of bushels. So, to figure how one report influences another a person has to first get out his calculator and figure everything into one set of measurements and that isn't always best because to read your own ag service report, you will need to figure out how they are counting bushels or weights. Personally, i would prefer everything in metric tons. It is easy to work with and most of the rest of the world is on that system. Also, a person would not have to try figure out bushel weights for each crop and the variabliltiy within a crop. It would not matter if the corn weighed 56bls/bushel or 58. The end result would be in total weight. And in most instances (unless a crop is really light) the weight is all we need to know.