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Veteran Advisor
Posts: 1,096
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

The rest of the world deals in a grain called maize in units of kilograms or metric tons.  It's passed due time the U.S. did, as well.

 

If you travel around Europe, you'll find places called the Corn or Korn Market (depends on which country you are in).  Sorry, it does not mean maize.  The word translates to grain.  Grain in those places more often meant wheat, rye, barley, oats and so forth, since there was no maize in the Old World at the time these places were named.

 

My great-great-grandmother immigrated from Ireland where she'd been a poor tenant farmer.  The only oral legend handed down from her was a comment about the hated English riding through the corn on their fox hunts.  No husking hooks associated with this corn.  She meant what we'd call small grains.

 

The metric system is slowly but surely taking over.  Our refrigerators and tool boxes reflect this.  Every new measuring instrument I buy can handle metric and I use it more and more in common applications.  This tendency will increase.  Science, medicine, military - if you are engaged in them you are using metric.  Aviation is a hybrid.  Anywhere but the US you use metric such as meters of altitude and millibars of pressure, but in the US we still use feet and inches of mercury.  But when you fly to anywhere else, you will be told what to do in metric units.

 

My point is simple - the agricultural market is global and it's time we recognized that and joined it and one of the first steps to take is to use common measurement systems.  A set of weights and measures makes it easier to understand global reports without trying to figure out how many bushels is in a metric ton.

 

If one believes the local cash price is the only market information one needs, one can use any unit of weight and measure one likes, but if one think futures are not based on units that are measured everywhere else in the world in metric tons, one has a narrow view of marketing that can affect one's ability to understand and use world-wide information.

 

I lived in Germany for 10 years and know from personal experience that converting to the metric system for the most part is pretty simple.  We don't really care what number is on the thermometer, we want to know if it's fit to plant, what to wear, if sun-block is needed.  Many of us can now reach for a 13mm wrench as easily as we'd reach for 1/2" just by sight.  

 

For me, the easiest way to imagine area is to use the chain and furlong method.  It's pretty easy for us to see a furlong as half the length of a 40 acre field fence or 660' and a chain is four rods or 66', which we can relate to equipment width.  Having a feel for 66' X 660' is 43,560 or an acre is handy but the mental math is a lot easier dealing in 10s based arithmetic as the metric system is.

 

Are we at a disadvantage in a change-over when not all can quickly relate a comfortable bushels per acre or truckload number to a new kilograms per hectare or truckload?  Maybe but I doubt if it's serious.  The first step is to convert a few common bench mark numbers.  56 lbs is about 25 kg.  1000 bushels of corn then is about the same as 25,000 kg of maize.  Later, of course, we quit converting and think directly in the new units.  

 

Do I hear "kicking and screaming" and "over my dead body"?  I suppose.  I could try to buy a two-liter bottle of Coke by the quart.  We're all heading that way and faster rather than slower.  I could get rid of my metric tools and see how long i can last using a crescent wrench and pliers.

 

If you've made it this far, you probably already know two things.  First, I actually do believe we should go metric instantly.  Secondly, it's been too quiet around here and I am not against poking a stick in a hornet's nest to liven things up.

 

 

Veteran Advisor
Posts: 1,262
Registered: ‎06-30-2010
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

[ Edited ]

It's not just a measurement, it's a frame of mind.  For simple things, like weight, degrees, depth, distance, speed, length, width, those pesky wrenches, etc., it's not too big a deal even if our brains don't think in those terms.  For just slightly more complex things, like area and volume, my brain doesn't process hectares and metric tons/bushels without literally converting them to acres and bushels.  I find some of the "marketing" articles particularly frustrating when they quote hectares and metric tons without any conversions.  I think it's something you have to grow with over time, perhaps a lot of time.  But, that's just me.  In the meantime, it would be helpful if any articles quoting hectares and metric bushels (also $/metric pricing) would also provide the conversions in the same context (perhaps in parentheses).  This would give our brains the ability to begin to recognize similarities and relativity, without needing to take the extra step of making the conversions just to understand.

 

As for whether it's corn, korn or maize, etc., that's worries me about as much as football or soccer, tomaaato, tomahhto.

Esteemed Advisor
Posts: 2,528
Registered: ‎04-29-2011
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

Ok........who pays the billions it will cost to change?  

Honored Advisor
Posts: 5,332
Registered: ‎01-10-2012

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

JIM,

BEING THE PUREST YOU ARE WHY DID YOU PUT HIS IN MARKETING?

 

THIS BELONGS DOWN IN THE "cesspool" (forum).

 

WHILE YOU ARE AT IT WHY NOT PROMOTE DRIVING ON THE LEFT?  They do that in some other places too. JUST AS WELL BE HERE TOO.

 

MOVE THIS THREAD OUT OF MARKETING, SHEESH JIM , YOU OF ALL POSTERS...

Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎12-17-2017
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

Boy, Jim, you sure are a provocateur.  You know Jim, the original meaning of the term "secret agent" wasn't so much a spy but someone who incited  political opposition and violence.  You better be careful, you'll end up like Flynn.

  But seriously, I'm trained as both a scientist and a farmer so I am comfortable with both systems.  Let me tell you the metric system is pretty darn nice when you're calculating ppm or fertilizer rates and such. 

  On the other hand, there are times when it's not quite so handy.  Take pressure for example, the standard unit of pressure in the metric system is the Pascal, 1 newton/m2 is equivalent to 0.000145 psi.  That makes  35 psi tire pressure 241,000 Pascals, or 241 kilo-pascals. It can get inconvenient to carry around all those zeros in you head all the time.

  But let's talk about grain for a minute.  160 bu./A corn is equivalent to 10057 kilograms per hectare or 10.057 tonnes/hect..  Likewise 150 bu/A corn is 9431 kilo's per hectare or 9.431 tonnes per hectare, 626 kilo's less.  The true of the matter is, bushels per acre is pretty nice convenient scale, the numbers aren't too big nor too small that we can't think and talk about them.

  The truth is, all the young people coming out of high school today aught to be fully fluent  in both systems.  A young mechanic aught to be able to put 240 kilo-pascal of air in tire just as easily as 35 psi.  A young farmer aught to know exactly what it means when he puts 225 kilo's of fertilizer on a hectare of ground.

Honored Advisor
Posts: 15,337
Registered: ‎05-13-2010
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

Those that export our grain can do the math and those that sell us crap can do the math and convert it for us...anyone with a calculator can do it, I don`t see why I should comply with the rest of the world, they`re already screwing us enough, the least they can do is the conversion math on taking us. 

Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎09-30-2010

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

[ Edited ]

With this Einstein’s theory maybe if we sell in metric tons and collect our money in rubles so we can say we are making a profit! For a grown American man who claims he is an expert to say something this dumb is absolutely amazing! Then we all wonder why we can’t make a profit! Nobody including successful farming advocates for the farmer, why isn’t the corn and soybean board  called out on where our check off dollars go? They have never in their inception helped the market one bit! I’m told I am competing on a global scale, but why is fertilizer and seed priced in zones and regions? Why is it that nobody will advocate for the farmer when we are bleeding? The answer is simple Mr Meade thinks we should sell in metrics now, common sense is gone and so is all of my respects for this mans opinions!

Senior Advisor
Posts: 19,148
Registered: ‎05-13-2010
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

If we switch to your system my old half bushel bucket will be obsolete.

Honored Advisor
Posts: 5,332
Registered: ‎01-10-2012
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

Metric hell
Worlds largest soy producer sells in bags
Cbot should price that in bags (130#) would give us $20 beans,

I've been in three Nortic countries, "corn" there is what we call wheat. We need to rename our stuff to match them.

Our curent temp scale is twice as accurate as their Celsius scale.

This thread does not belong in this forum.

Ever notice how a liberal can not leave well enough alone?
There are plenty of things that are broken and need fixed, this ain't one of them.

Veteran Advisor
Posts: 1,096
Registered: ‎10-18-2016
0

Re: It's Time To Kill Bushels Of Corn

Well, I was pretty careful to repeat several times that the reason for bringing it up in Marketing Talk was because we had walled ourself off from the rest of the world in how we used weights and measures in producing and marketing grain, and it put us at a disadvantage.

 

I'm glad to see you are all awake  and not totally locked into football playoffs or breaking the ice off of stock tanks.  Smiley Happy