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.
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