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Honored Advisor

Misleading information

In marketing information we see every once in a while, reference to "piles" of grain created at harvest to store our "excess" crop.

And the "writers" of information love to use the "visual" to emphasize a shocking creation...


I took a drive around the area yesterday working on a change that we are making in irrigation water use in a spot.  

There are 2.5 million bushels of corn and milo in bunkers in a radius in the Guymon Okla area.  Not counting whatever is piled at the adm terminal close by or the wet corn pits at a couple of large local cattle feeders.

Then there is more under tarp and in rows of bags at Hooker, Okla.   Milo on the ground at each little town, etc etc etc etc....


Question is    " is this a sign of abundance of production or the deteriation of society?"  

 We have built some private grain storage,  A lot of us have.  Adm has built a little at their terminal for their use and expanded a couple of locations.  But for the most part grain storage facilities, accessable for public storage, are a deteriating mess.

Guymon lost a large concrete elevator condemned by age and time.  Nearly every town for miles and miles has one of these monuments to the 1950.s at the edge of demolition or diseaster...

My first years of driving in the mid 60's the elevators were numerous.  I drove a truck for a neighbor at the end of milo harvest delivering a dry load to every elevator he had taken a wetter load to.  I counted 17 independently owned elevators in a 40 mile radius.. (it is called moisture averaging, for the younger guys.  Most of those elevators are gone or empty now...  Some bought up by bigger.  I think we have three choices now, but that is a different subject....


While we look back and see how much debt got sacraficed to our latest Baal statue. The environmental Golden Calf...

I remember the great gift to our society given by the policies of the leadership of the 1950.s and 60's, that helped create a wonderful concrete elevator in nearly every community in Kansas and Okla, and beyond... A place to store our food..............


Does the pile of grain really tell us how well off we are?

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7 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Misleading information

Good points sw ---but to me - no it does not - first you are talking about --- out west - i really have to wonder how wheat is in there bins and did have the normal space to put the corn - the elevator guys have told me for years that the sheet metal we have is there biggest competitor = possession is 99 percent of the law -- right ?  the locals here do there best to tie up bu.s - by free dp - added basis - you name it  .


not say'n' thats all it - yet it do's play into there hands for cheap products

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Re: Misleading information

I know this has nothing to do with the way we market our grain but I so often think of my Dad saying the people setting the price have never been hungry.  They look at a surplus as a curse instead of a blessing.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Misleading information

You want misleading information?  Look no further than almost any USDA report.  It's hard to believe that in this day & age these numbers are what the market trades off of.  You say it's the best game in town?  We, as producers, who feed the world,  deserve better.

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Misleading information

When the concrete silos were put up in the 50`s the corn production was 4 billion bushel, today many of those silos have steel bands put around them.   Back in the 80`s some coops were in trouble, some cases the board members would come around and beg for a donation.  At the time I observed that those old wooden elevators with nailed together 2x6`s and tin on the outside were in the best shape financially, they never asked for a donation.


Up until 2005 we were raising sub-10 billion bu corn crops, carryover so high at times we could`ve almost went a year without a corn crop and prices were so low that LDPs were collected. That plus the `95 hedge-to-arrive debacle.  I flat out don`t think there was enough capital available to upgrade grain storage until just the last few years. 


With alot of these elevators, they didn`t want to build a "church" the size of their "Easter service" and you can`t blame them.


But there`s a difference in areas too, in NCIA there`s farmer and elevator bins and grain legs and covered outside bunkers.  And the Feed mills and chicken houses and ethanol plants all have huge storage that wasn`t there 15 years ago.    Then the other day went down to the salebarn at Gowrie, by Ft Dodge, going the back roads it`s flat good land, but the farmers didn`t get into the bin building craze like around here..most of each farmer`s production must go to town in the fall.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Misleading information

YES IT IS MISLEADING not only gong against us but even many of the "Jews" in Chicago.


The updates and increased storage n the main corn belt is actually phenomenal...can be compared to the build out in the elevator s in the 50's in your area. Yes seventy years later they are worn or rotted out. 


Right after many of your areas facilities were built what happened?


 Irrigation happened.. large scale livestock production followed. The crops and crop %s changed.  From about hwy 81 west my bet is there is a billion more bu a year raised just because of irrigation. It may be more.


Those facilities were for wheat and a moderate amount of Milo and corn off season. In many of those areas wheat is now the off season crop. 


If the storage was built for a 40bu every other year crop on half the acres, what do they think will happen when it changes to a every year crop of 200bpa crop on a significant number of those acres with the added break out of hay and pasture acres in to crop production?


Yep piles and bags but mainly piles.


In just the last 10 years we as a nation have gone from an eight or nine billion bu corn crop to 13 or 14 a year. How many more bins need built basically all of a sudden?


The advantage we have that our southern competitors don't have is cold usually fridgid weather to temporary store 25% in piles till it is used before warm temps come back. Not a bad plan with adequate management and just a little cooperation from ol ma nature.


With the further lessening of people with a farm background and no real goal but to get a sensational headline on the front page. This is to be expected.


Whoops I gotta go ....




Senior Advisor

Re: Misleading information

Supply means little without also considering usage or demand.  The piles, in and of themselves, mean absolutely nothing, other than perhaps more modern physical storage structures would be preferable, assuming the funds are available to invest in the facilities.  Still, many have realized that it isn't necessary to spend so much for storage capacity that might only be needed for a few months each year, and sometimes not every year.


Production has increased significantly over the last 20 years -- it doesn't all get used at once, it needs to go somewhere.    Local coops started piling outside in the fall several years back when it seemed impossible to get railroad cars.  About the same time, it seems all the farmers started buying tractor-trailers to haul farther away.  The coop piles were important for temporary storage, to ease harvest pressure on grain movement, allow farmers to get the crops out of the fields, and minimize investments in permanent grain storage structures.  The piles actually worked pretty good, with minimal grain losses, and now the local coops have seemingly 'permanentized' the piles -- they're on concrete instead of the ground, they have installed pits and elevators to fill the piles, and the piles are covered until the coop has enough storage space to get the grain inside.  For last several years, instead of facing a corn basis of up to perhaps -$1.50 at mid-to-late harvest, we now see perhaps -$.50 at the worst, at least for now.  There is less harvest time insistence on 'cash or contract grain only', thanks to the presence of the temporary piles.  The unloading lines aren't nearly as bad as 20 years ago, and we don't normally have to stop harvest because we can't unload somewhere.


At the same time, there are a lot of on-farm grain storage structures put up in the last 20 years.  Harvest moves along faster than 20 years ago, even though we're handling lot more grain.  Etc.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Misleading information

Good question SW.....The big elevator was the town landmark, many were taller than the water tower, and many

had the name of the town on them, so you knew where you were at, along with the name on the water tower.

Fond memories of the older elevators.....When I was a kid, i remember hauling wheat to town in a pickup...used to get

gunnysacks and nail them on boards that went over the endgates, right as the combine started to dump, you had to

throw wheat by hand into the corners, to hold the gunnysack in the grooves.....then remember the lift they used

to pick up the front end of the pu......that's the part i didn't of the elevators wanted you to stay in

the cab and hold the brake, but you never went up that high.....that same year i run a combine for the first time,

and ihc 101 combine..which i still have......i want to restore it sometime.....

Alot of the elevators have disappeared, due to them being a "liability" local coop went crazy and had all their

stuff inspected after an elevator about 60 miles away had a problem...they tore one done....but they did rebuild some

concrete ones.....

but what they did they held a meeting to get you to "invest" in the new elevator.  You paided basicly $1 a bu, and you

bought in 5000 bu bunch....for your investment you get "free" storeage, except for a management fee and maintance

fee....and you could also rent out your share when not using.......but in 20 years, you donate it too the coop.

today, we use those stupid "bunkers".......i am a cranky ole #$%@ by nature, and it kind of gets me seeing those

used....that is alot of work to put that plastic on those piles, and i've also seen several inches of rain on them,

uncovered, i've seen the wind blow them off, etc...and everyone one i've seen there is a foot or two of rotten grain on the

bottom.  Now they are getting better, they have fans now, and also monitor probs watch stuff.  I also hate to dump

on them, i hate those things you drive over, and usually you have to hold the brake on an angle and lift the bed up

(no i dont have a semi, but watching it looks close that their underbellies might rub once in a while.  i told the dingleberrys

running the show, to digg maybe a foot or so trench to put the unloader in, that way you could drive stright over,

wouldn't have to lock the brake, etc, would make life so much easier.......never have learned yet.

They tell me that these bunkers are the cheapest way to do me it doesn't  add up....they are a pain in the

#$@ to dump at, then the loss from not being covered, then they are a mess to unload, you have to have a loader

to do everything......wouldn't it be so much better to just put up a metal bin, with a dump pit....wouldn't be as much loss,

and easier to handle the what i look at, the cost it not "way up there".

yes, there is more production, but there has been a change in how we handle the grain.....looking at all of this, most of the

elevators around have bunkers, and i think the grain is of poorer quality....but i guess if you are running it thru a steer

or hog, or making moonshine out of it......maybe it doesn't have to be as good as it used to be.

i jumped one of the elevator boys one time about it...his responce was, they were making 40 to 50 cents a bu the way they

are doing it......why change ???????


well i better quit......i've run out of bread crums, and if i keep going, i might not be able to find my way back to the state question.


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