Posts By: Kayla Erickson

From the Board Room – Nov 2022 Grain Mill

Shane Sickler

Hello, and “welcome home” SWG producers! Yes, it seems like we have been gone for months from our families and supper at home at the kitchen table. It was a fast-paced year for farming and ranching. We were late to the game and worked hard to get and stay caught up. It seemed that whatever you were doing, there were 10 other jobs waiting for you next.

It was a great hay crop year, and with the wheat harvest hot and dry, it made for nice quality wheat yields that we are all thankful for. The canola crops threw us a surprise. The stands looked great, but the heat took its toll on the yields. The fall row crops were up and down. Sunflowers did well, but the corn disap­pointed most producers. We worked to get the corn through an early hailstorm with the hopes it will come back. Then a later hail stripped the leaves, but it still produced cobs. Next was 2+ days of winds in excess of 75 mph and it took the ears right down to the ground. In the end, it was a loss for a lot of grain producers. Also, livestock producers lost feed they needed for their livestock. Thankfully though, there were some va­rieties that were able to tolerate those winds and, based on maturity, were able to survive and compensate for some of the losses.

As I’m writing about our 2022 crop year, it does not seem to let up! We are in November, a month that most producers look at as a time to catch up with fall projects. Yet there are 2 words I keep hearing: Colorado Low. It is like a bad poker game where you come out losing. This spring was enough to last 10 years, yet here we go, after those insane winds the past several weeks, we are already looking at our first snowstorm of the fall. We have all heard stories of farmers and ranchers experiencing this in the past. Now it is our turn. I hope and pray as you read this, the storm did not develop as the Weather Channel predicted.

As we move into the end of 2022, the good news is that cattle prices for calves are better. We are thankful for that. Un­fortunately, crop input prices have not improved from last spring and, to add to that, the crops used up most of the plant nutrients. Be sure to take the time needed to study your fields. Reach out to your SWG agronomy department and sit down with your agronomist to deter­mine what crops could do better in your soil types for the upcoming year. SWG can help you with all your plant nutrient needs for crop protection. Now is the time to get some of those inputs locked in. SWG also has experienced livestock specialists that can help producers with all their livestock needs for the upcom­ing winter and early calving season.

As we take time to look back at our 2022 season and look ahead to 2023, we need to be thankful for everyone that helped get the crops harvested and the cattle on green pastures with good hay waiting for winter feeding. Be vigilant to remain safe as you clean equipment for the year and move livestock home to corrals for the winter.

I hope all SWG producers can enjoy all the upcoming holidays: Thanksgiving, the NFR, Christmas, and the New Year. Seriously, the NFR is a special ‘holiday’ to a lot of our producers and their fam­ilies! Enjoy the season with your loved ones, young & old. God’s best gifts: our parents, your spouse, your kids, and especially those grandbabies, are who make holiday memories priceless!

Be safe, healthy, and grateful and take care of each other!

Shane Sickler

President, SWG Producer Board

Regional Manager’s Report – Nov 2022 Grain Mill

Delane Thom

We are in the month of November 2022 with this newsletter. We finalized fiscal year 2022, ending August 31, 2022, and now completed the first two months of fiscal year 2023. The wheat harvest finished for a while ago and the quality of the crop was just what we needed. The yields were good in most areas due to the mid-April moisture that carried through most of the growing season. The extreme drought conditions and heat we experienced thru the last years growing season looked like they were going to be repeated until that major weather event in April. In the areas that recieved a little more rain overall, the yields on all crops overall were very good. This shows what another ½ inch of rain can do. If you happened to be just a few miles either side of these small rain events, the results were probably a little different. Global grain supplies remain adequate despite all the turmoil created with the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Export demand is not as strong as expected coming out of the global pandemic from a year ago. Domestic demand is steady but easily covered with the supply available. The speculative markets are pushing futures higher, but the actual cash trade is well supplied at this point. COVID is still a thing, but it appears to be manageable in most cases. Due to the drought of last year, our grain handle for fiscal 2022 was down about 2 million bushels at the end of August 2022. We ended fiscal year 2022 with a handle of around 24.0 million bushels. In the grain markets, volatility will be a common occurrence, creating dramatic swings both directions.

The crop inputs continue to be considerably higher as they followed the grain markets higher. They still seem to have some strength as the supply chain is having problems with getting the right products to the right place at the right time. Who would have thought that the Mississippi River would hit historic low water levels in 2022? This event coupled with the ongoing labor disputes and threatened strikes with the Union Workers of the Class 1 railroads just add fuel to the disruption of the supply chain. A big concern influencing the fertilizer markets going forward is the cost of the raw ingredients, such as natural gas to make nitrogen, and the higher costs of everything related to making those products. There is a lot of talk around the labor shortages and the ongoing fatigue of the workforce as the aftermath of the pandemic which continues to limit improvement of the supply chain issues. As a result of the Russia/Ukraine conflict there is more concern of refined fuels and propane now getting into shorter supply situations both in our local region and globally.

As mentioned above, we have closed fiscal year 2022 (September 1, 2021, thru August 31, 2022). With all the circumstances considered, we will have to say this was a pretty good year. The input side of the business was off in volume due to the drought that persisted thru early spring and soil tests that did not call for much in terms of plant food, specifically nitrogen. The input side of the business contributed good margins to the overall business. The grain side of the business while declining in volume has provided good margins due to improved quality of the spring wheat crop. We did witness a bit of a shift in protein premiums as harvest started, which is something we have not had in several years. Protein for crop year 2022 was lower overall than prior years.

SWG ended fiscal year with a profit that was better than budget and was driven by all product areas contributing well and showing operational improvement. At this time, we anticipate the patronage paid on fiscal year 2022 business to be strong. We do not have final rates though, or how it will be handled in terms of qualified or non-qualified distribution. During fiscal year 2022 all age 70 requests were paid, and new age requests were processed as they were submitted. All estates continue to be paid as they are requested, and they are the priority during the fiscal year. 

Feed sales decreased in volume because of the moisture, which created a nice crop of grass and hay this year. Watching the cattle sales at local auction barns recently would indicate that calves are moving to market and, so far, the prices are holding good values. It feels like the calves were marketed on time this year due to the good prices. Feed quality testing is still important in good years and in those years where the forage is just about anything that will make a bale. Any hay that is bought should always be checked for quality. Work with our nutrition people to get that in balance for the best use. Also check with your SWG Feed Salespeople for all of you animal health needs. It is that time of year when ranchers are weaning and backgrounding or weaning and selling calves. If you have a prescription from your vet that needs to be filled, we can accommodate that at all our locations that handle animal health products. Our ongoing partnership with West River Vet Clinic in Hettinger will continue to add value to these services. We will fill all VFD prescriptions at all our locations and have the training in place to maintain the necessary records to be in compliance. Let us know what you need, and we will do our best to make it available when you need it.

Related to safety, our ongoing plan is to do what we can to keep ahead of the ever-changing rules and regulations as well as continue with better training for our employees. Our goal is to create a safety culture that is good for both the company and our customers. Safety is something that we take must seriously and continually work on to get better. Safety at the farm level is something that should certainly not be taken for granted. Every year and every day we hear about a farmer that is trapped in a grain bin or caught in a PTO, so please pay attention, and take another few seconds to evaluate what you are doing and do it safely. Our customers are the most important piece of our business. We need to do what is right to keep our businesses open and active to serve the needs of our customers. During the busiest times of the year, it should be talked about and each of you should have a plan in place. 

Another ongoing reminder related to equity retirement: Any requests for equity retirement either for age or estate require a form to be filled out. You can contact our main office and we can help you with the necessary forms to get this done. Also remember that the age requirement is currently at 70, so please plan and get the request submitted. Talk to your relatives, friends, and neighbors, so they are aware of the process. They simply need to call us, and we will check on the equity balance and see if it is eligible and send the necessary forms for the request.

The SWG Annual Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 15th at the New Salem Auditorium. We will host a meal at noon Central Time, with registration starting at 11:00 am Central Time and meeting to follow at 1:00 pm Central Time. This will be an in-person meeting, the same as last year in Dickinson ND. Please see the official notice elsewhere in this newsletter for more details.

In the past there has been some questions about how the votes for SWG are carried to the CHS Annual Meeting.  At each of the local SWG annual meetings there is a resolution that is voted on by the membership to allow the votes for District 3 & 4 (ND & SD), to be carried by members of the SWG Producer Board. Every year we vote on this resolution a year in advance, and it allows all the votes from SWG to be carried into the CHS Annual Meeting by delegates from the local Producer Board. This year there will be an in person CHS Annual Meeting, in Minneapolis MN on December 1 – 2, 2022. We have delegates from the local Producer Board registered to carry the votes for SWG in both states. 

Thank You for your continued support of the cooperative system, and for putting your trust in our people and our company. The success of your cooperative is not about any one person or event, but a true team effort.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Remember “Do it Safely by Choice”.                       

I will leave you with this quote:“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore to be happy”

Delane Thom, Regional Manager

We Are Here to Help!

Jeremy Imhoff

Hello everyone from the Elgin Southwest Grain location. I hope everyone’s summer is going well. On a personal note, I think it has gone way too fast! We are already into August; where did the summer go? It doesn’t help that we didn’t have much of a spring this year. I have to say, what a difference a year can make. Last year we couldn’t get a drop of rain and this year we were blessed with all kinds of moisture. The crops look very promising and, by the looks of it, the hay crop was very good too after what we had last year. Well onto business. With hay making in full swing, if you need any net wrap for baling this year, we offer 3 different sizes of net wrap. These are 64×7000, 64×8000, and 64×9000. They are the Pritchard brand. When you are done making hay and you want to know what kind of feed value you have in it, just give Kristine a call and she will come out and probe the bales and send it in for analysis. You can also collect the sample yourself and drop it off at the elevator and we can send it in for you too.

With the heat comes the flies, and they are bad this year. There are products available to help beat those little suckers. We offer an array of IGR lick tubs, IGR loose mineral, garlic salt blocks, garlic loose salt, and sprays to help combat those pesky flies. If you have any questions on these products, please stop in, or give us a call to answer any questions. I know with the rain this year the pastures are in pretty good shape, but I also want to mention that we have bulk creep available for the calves and we still offer delivery if anyone is interested. The other issue that is causing a lot of grey hair this year is grasshoppers and other insects eating the crops and hay. Our location has a variety of sprays to help with this. If you need the fields sprayed by custom applicators or applied by a plane, please stop in or call and we can line it up with our Lemmon location to get you taken care of.

Going into harvest now, it is time to service all the harvest equipment. Just a little friendly reminder that we have a good selection of Cenex oils, lubricants, and grease available to keep your equipment running correctly during harvest. If you are looking for any bulk fuel or any bulk oil you can al- ways contact Savannah Meier, or our Lemmon location and they can assist you with that. Lastly, we completed our summer fill for propane and home heat. If we missed you, or you weren’t on the list, just give a call and we can still fill you up before the snow flies. I hope everyone has safe and plentiful harvest this year.

Jeremy Imhoff, Manager Elgin SWG

Hello From Richardton!

Shayna Dressler

We have a new face in the store. Sadia Zafar joined us at the end of May as our new Agronomy Sales Representative. Sadia is a recent North Dakota State University graduate, and she is eager to help with any agronomy needs. Stop in or give her a call!

Sadia Zafar

We would like to remind all our feed customers that we are offering our creep feed contracted price through September. Pick up your creep feed by September 30th to receive our best price available.

We reached the time of year where fly control is so important. We are fully stocked on a variety of lick tubs, salt, and mineral with garlic or altosid. Call or stop in so we can get your flies under control!

As always, we thank you for your continued business.

Shayna Dressler, Operations Supervisor SWG Richardton

Fly Control!

Kristine Koepplin

Horn flies can cause big problems for cattle and cattle producers. The biting insects feed on the blood of cattle, up to 40 times per day. When flies reach a point of overwhelming numbers, cattle are forced to use high levels of energy to fend flies off; instead of putting their energy into production or growth and reproduction. Poor reproductive performance and calf development are two of the major issues. Studies show horn fly infestations can reduce weaning weights by as much as 25 pounds, reduce growth rates in replacement heifers by up to 14% and reduce daily gains in yearlings and stockers by 0.2 pounds per day. In addition, feeding and grazing patterns are also negatively affected, also resulting in significant weight loss and poor cattle development.

The economic impact of the horn fly problem has been shown to cost the cattle industry over $875 million per year. Foot rot and pink eye are economically damaging as animals affected by one or both conditions can have negative effects on weight gain, weaning weights, reproduction, and milk production. While it is important to properly treat both conditions, it is equally imperative, if not more important to focus on prevention. There can be many causes for both foot rot and pink eye, however fly control is vital. While on summer pasture often flies are the primary problem, and foot rot or pinkeye are the result of improper fly control. We can help you to build a program using supple- ments with Availa 4, IGR, insecticides, and garlic to maximize the fly control for your herd.

One of the first steps is to collect samples of the water as well as the grass to check for any antagonists. Antagonists are a substance or even an excessive about amount of another nutrient which blocks the actions of a vital nutrient. Depending on the results of the samples, we properly formulate supplements with optimal trace minerals using Zinpro Performance Minerals. Zinpro amino acid complexes deliver zinc, copper, manganese, and cobalt in a form which is more available to cattle. This organic form, known as Availa® 4 of these trace minerals is able to override any antagonists in the animal’s diet when properly formulated and balanced. Zinpro’s Availa®4 has research proven results when fed to cattle throughout the year at 7g per head per day.

The best fly control is a minimum of two different fly control modes, preferably three modes. What this means is using one form through feed called Altosid® IGR to control horn flies and face flies by breaking the cycle. Female flies only leave the host (cow/ calf/bull/heifer) to lay their eggs in freshly deposited cow manure. Altosid® IGR passes through the digestive system into the manure, where it breaks the life cycle by keeping the horn fly larvae from developing. Ultimately preventing adult flies from emerging from the manure. The IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) in Altosid® IGR mimics naturally occurring insect biochemicals which are responsible for insect development to interrupt the horn fly life cycle, instead of through direct toxicity. Because of this Altosid® IGR is effective at very small concentrations, no known horn fly resistance, and has no effects on beneficial insects such as the dung beetles. Altosid® IGR is available through several supplements such as: SmartLic Altosid(IGR) tubs, Payback Ultramin mineral+ Altosid, Payback Liquid Feed + Altosid. In my opinion, it is never too late to start Altosid® IGR. Even though you may not see the most benefit of adding Altosid® IGR to your supplement this year, starting it now will help for next year. It is important to keep feeding Altosid® IGR for 30 days after the first frost in the fall, which is usually mid to end of September. This helps to prevent horn fly larvae from overwintering giving you a jump start on the next fly season. The ideal horn fly control program starts by using Altosid® IGR in your feed supplement 30 days before overwintering flies appear in the spring.

In addition to Altosid® IGR, it is also necessary to use a mode which kills or repel the adult flies. There are many options available such as: back rubbers and cattle oilers; dust bags; topical pour-on, VetGun capsules (VetCap) and sprays; fly tags, etc. When it comes to using these methods of fly control it is important to properly rotate between drug classes of these products. A proper rotation between drug classes for example is rotating between permethrin and organophosphates. Be careful when using a generic product as it could be the same or similar active ingredient and still be in the same drug class, which is not a true rotation and could lead to resistance problems.

The third mode available at most Southwest Grain locations is the Payback Salt with Garlic. Contact your local SWG to see if they have Cobalt salt with garlic or Trace Mineral EDDI with garlic. These two formulas can be offered in a block form or loose bag salt. It is important to remember this mode of action is not fly control and does not replace fly control such as Altosid® IGR. As the cow/calf consumes the garlic, the garlic will build in the blood system and deter the fly. Using garlic is a fly repellant. Think of garlic like us using mosquito spray to repel mosquitoes. Garlic will not kill adult flies, nor will it break the life cycle. Instead, it is best to use garlic in addition to the two modes of fly control. Also keep in mind, currently there is no proven research on the benefits and effects of garlic. There is only trials and a lot of unknowns at this time regarding garlic use in livestock. Use garlic as an additional step to your fly control program, not a replacement. If you have questions about proper rotations or fly control, contact myself or your feed and animal health consultant at the nearest Southwest Grain location. We can help you to create a plan that works for your operation using multiple methods of fly control with proper rotation. Keep in mind fly control will never be 100% (or no flies at all) but with consistent implementation, the flies can be controlled to a minimal level that does not cause as many problems for the cattle, especially reducing the incidence of foot rot and pink eye. Always remember the 30-30 rule to start Altosid® IGR: 30 days before fly emergence and keep Altosid® IGR: 30 days after first frost. A strong fly control program is the cornerstone to keep cattle comfortable while on summer pasture. Enjoy the rest of summer and have a safe harvest! Thank you!

Kristine Koepplin
Livestock Nutrition & Animal Health Specialist
New Salem & Elgin

Winter Propane Contracts

Jim Renke

Hello to everyone from the Energy Department! I am writing this letter on August 10th, and the following information is what I see today. It may be completely different by the time this newsletter hits your mailbox.

Our annual Propane Summer fill program has ended. If you were not filled and would like to take advantage of summer pricing, please call the SWG service center closest to you and place your order before winter pricing takes effect.

We are again offering winter propane contracts. If you would like to partake in a contract, please call one of our sales staff for more information. Jared (701 260-5235), Savanna (701 260-6415), or the Dickinson office (701 483-5157). For Lemmon Patrons, you can also call Barb at (605 374-3301) and she would be happy to help you.

Harvest is getting underway which creates a very busy time for all. Fuel drivers please think ahead about your fuel needs and call in your order before you run out. We will do everything we can to get it to you promptly but if everyone calls at once you may have to wait a day or two.

The gasoline market has softened up a lot for much needed price relief at the pump. Going forward we should see continued softening of gas, but diesel remains net short gallons based on prior years.

The entire Energy Department thanks you for your past, current, and future business. We wish you well this harvest season.

Thank You,
Jim Renke, Manager Energy Division

Grain Division Report

Brian Fadness

What a difference a year can make! Crops look very good heading into the beginning of harvest. Row crops and late seeded wheat could use a drink, but overall, the potential for this year’s crop is quite impressive.

Southwest Grain has a harvest delayed pricing program available for spring wheat, winter wheat and durum. Service fees are $.06/bu/month, 15 days free, priced by May 31, 2023 (or pay storage and roll), service fees are retroactive to the day of unload if not sold within the 15 days.

Our elevators have space and are ready for harvest to begin. We do have some freight and are hoping to stay fluid through harvest. New crop purchases from the farm were few so we had to make our best estimate as to what would move. With any luck, it will all work out!

North American wheat is getting harvested, so each day more wheat is available to the world market. Demand for U.S. wheat is poor. Weekly wheat export sales for the 22/23 crop year are below the previous two crop years and the cumulative total is chugging along at the bottom of the five-year range. Even with the poor demand and the prospect of a good spring wheat harvest, prices are still at historically good values. Take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves!

Also, it is not too soon to start pricing 2023 crop. At the time of this writing, Minneapolis December 2023 futures are at $9.29, December 2023 corn is $5.87, and November 2023 soybean futures are $13.40. High prices can provide pricing opportunities for multiple years.

Brian Fadness, Manager Grain Division

Harvest Begins!

Kevin Lien

As we are starting harvest this year, we have plenty of room for spring wheat. Winter wheat is coming in and the quality is very good. Spring wheat is just beginning, and we have not seen much yet. As harvest ramps up, we will text out our harvest hours, have them on our reader board by the probe, and post on the website. When you swipe your card at the probe your name and application will come up (contract, spot, or delayed price). If you want it changed, pick up the phone in the red box and we will change it for you and save it to that card. We have to change it on each card if you have more than one truck running. This also applies to splits on your tickets. The splits will not show up on the reader board but once they are changed they will stay the same until you let us know. When custom harvesters haul in, we can get them a card, but they need to know the application type and the splits. We can change your application type and save it by just letting us know at the probe. If you have any questions, please call us in the driveway, 701-483-6201.

At the Dickinson Durum Terminal, we also have plenty of room for Durum. We are still waiting for a leg pully for one unloading leg. As most of you know some parts are taking longer to get but hopefully that will be installed before harvest.

Carson Hirsch

We have a new employee at the Taylor Terminal, Carson Hirsch. Carson moved here from Selby, SD. His hobbies include hunting, fishing, and target shooting. Please welcome him to our team. Have a safe harvest season.

Kevin Lien, Manager Boyle Terminal

Agronomy Update

John LeMieux

What a difference a year makes! So very blessed to have the moisture this year – even if it took a couple of back-to-back nasty snowstorms to make it happen. Crops for the most part are looking very good and harvest getting started. Initial reports are good quality and yields. Hope that will hold true for all of it. Airplanes have been busy taking care of sunflower bugs – and grasshoppers. It’s been a good year for hoppers and I’m afraid they will haunt us till freeze up.

It’s been a challenging year with high fertilizer prices/logistics and supply. Our sales are down due to coming drought last year and carry over. Also, there was just some plain push back due to higher cost. The crop protection side of the business has been more of a headache with supply constraints and ever-changing prices. We are blessed with some great employees that help with the forecasting and interchanging products that are in short supply.

We witnessed a slight drop in nitrogen prices looking towards fall. While most everything else is staying fairly flat. The future suggests more volatility with unrest overseas and high natural gas prices. We have laid in some product for winter wheat and fall application, so we are hopeful for continued moisture.

Harvest is upon on us. Stay safe. Thanks for the business!

John LeMieux, Manager Dickinson Agronomy

Harvest is Here, Stay Safe!

Ben Hetzel

One year ago, I started this commentary out with some positive words about how a severe drought was being quenched by some late summer moisture. Seems like this year is just the opposite as most of our trade area started out with challenges caused by plentiful moisture and now are desperate for moisture to keep the late season crops growing.

The spring season went well despite high input prices and allocation restrictions. With the price of fertilizer backing off at the end of the planting season we had the opportunity to utilize the Trident to dry spread many acres of corn. This machine can travel down and drop the product between rows with minimal crop damage. We hope this will be a game changer for producers that want to increase their yield potential on those acres. A huge shout out to our team in Lemmon for making this past spring season a success!

Harvest has started and the winter wheat crop that looked so good all year did not disappoint. Yield reports are excellent, and the quality is also very good. Protein on the winter wheat side was lower than normal for our area but that is expected when yields are 20-30% higher than what was planned. The early spring wheat is showing good quality and decent yields, but we have a lot of harvest left and some late seeded wheat that was certainly stressed.

The long spring will be beneficial in terms of our construction project that was scheduled to be completed before harvest. Many weather delays have caused the calendar to slip some, and we are still anticipating filling the new bin during spring wheat harvest. This will take the pressure off needing to bag grain. The dryer will not be ready for wheat harvest but will be completed in time for fall harvest. The existing elevator will have increased flexibility with dumping/reclaiming as the original concrete house was upgraded and extended higher to allow for a distributer to be installed. We hope to have the project completed by late September, but the crews are working long hours to have us functional in mid-August. When you travel through the facility, please be careful as traffic lanes are restricted and we appreciate your patience as we work through this during harvest.

Russel Gonder
Kaid Bruno
Brannon Peterson

I have a few new faces on our team to introduce. This spring we welcomed back Brannon Peterson to the team. Brannon’s experience as a sales agronomist along with his operational knowledge will be beneficial as he works with the Highway 12 locations to manage the agronomy operations maximizing efficiencies and leveraging assets. Kaid Bruno joined the team as seasonal/part-time operational specialist. You will find him out dumping trucks and loading customers. We said hello and goodbye in a short amount of time to our intern, Luke Kordovsky. Luke is a BSC student and spent the spring season helping with various task to assist the sales team as well as the agronomy operations. Recently, Pat Bootz retired from CHS leaving a vacancy in our Refined Fuel delivery team. We appreciate what Pat brought to the team and his years of service to our patrons. I would like to again say thank you and best wishes in your retirement, Pat. With his departure, we are fortunate to have Russel Gonder return to the team. Russel worked with us in energy in the past and spent a few years with CHS Transportation. His experience made for a smooth transition back to Southwest Grain.

Harvest is here, stay safe!

Ben Hetzel, Manager Lemmon Terminal

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