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

Stark County Emergency Response Drill

On July 21st, CHS Southwest Grain hosted an emergency response drill for Stark County in North Dakota.

There were around 125 first responders on site and 150 people involved all together with the following groups represented:

-5 fire departments (including Dickinson City Fire with Hazmat and the surrounding towns)
-3 ambulance services
-Bismarck Hazmat
-Dickinson CHI Hospital – they responded to the patients that the ambulances drove to the hospital. The intention of this was to “overload” the hospital.
-Sanford Hospital with helicopter response
-Stark Co Emergency Response
-Stark Co Sheriff
-ND Highway Patrol
-ND Game and Fish

The scenario was a vehicle hauling hazardous chemical collided with a train, derailing it, and causing the chemical to spill. Additionally, there was an NH3 release and several fires. There was at least one fatality, and 10 other injuries (wearing full make up). The injured people were treated, and then decontaminated eventually transported to the hospital if needed. One lucky volunteer got a helicopter ride! In talking to several of the first responders, they learned a bunch and enjoyed participating in the drill.

CHS Southwest Grain was proud and thankful to be a small part of such a beneficial event for our local First Responders!

Clint Thom, Regional Safety Director

Good Feed Produces Good Cattle

Larry Doerr

We are watching the fields ripen up the last couple of weeks. High temps and no rain are helping things along. Harvest won’t be long now. As I write this, we are lucky to have received no hail in the area.

When you look at all the bales out there it makes one wonder if they will all get into the hay yard before the snow flies. This was a great year to replenish the stock. If you are interested in getting any hay analyzed, we have a couple of hay probes here that you can use, and we will send the sample off, so you know what you have. We can also come out and probe the bales for you if you’d like. Good feed will get those cattle in good condition for the calving season. Along with that, we have a good selection of fly regulator products for you to take advantage of. From loose mineral or tubs to the salt containing garlic that will help keep the flies off your cattle. We have this available in blocks and loose salt.

We have kept busy with the creep feed truck as always. We have a couple of feeders here if you are interested in doing that this year. As the grass loses some of its appeal to the calves, they will turn to creep feed and will put extra pounds on before weening. There have been some water samples coming back that are not what we want your cattle to be drinking. If your herd is depending on a water source that you question, call and we can take a sample and get it analyzed, sometimes on the spot. This will help you be comfortable that you have good water for the cattle. With the minimal rain- fall lately, if your livestock is depending on standing water, we need to get it tested.

The best time to sample the soil is right behind the combine so get your name on the list and we will get to you as fast as we can. Fertilizer recommendations are a big part of our business and that begins with the soil test. Let’s see what our team can do for you. Our fiscal year is ending soon, and I would like to thank all of you for your business this last year. You have helped us to another successful year. Also, a big thank you to the employees here at Southwest Grain Reeder. They work hard to help you in any way we can. Harvest is a busy time so don’t forget the important things: Stay safe and take care of yourself and we will all be here when our new year starts in September.

Larry Doerr, Manager Southwest Grain Reeder

A Big Thank You!

Suzie Reuther

Hello from Hettinger, and a BIG Thank you to all of our patrons for your business this past year. August 31st is the end of our fiscal year.

Harvest is upon us, and we have room for Spring Wheat and Winter Wheat. We are planning to take corn this fall but give us a call before you haul.

Mother nature has given us an over abundance of rain this year. This gave us plenty of green grass, therefore our creep feed season has started out slow. Flies, flies, and more flies!! We have all of your fly con- trol needs from the pasture to the yard: back rubbers, oil, pour-on’s, and sprays (LD 44Z for the barnyards and tempo for the yard). We carry Smartlic tubs and loose mineral with fly control too, so there is no need to be buzzed by those nasty flies. Stop by and pick up your fly control needs today.

Once again, THANK YOU for your business!!

Suzie Reuther, Manager Hettinger Elevator

Supplementation Required

Sarah Thompson

As we enter fall, we look at options to extend our grazing. You may have pastures with grass that has dried down, corn stalks, or something else that you would like to utilize for grazing during the fall and winter months. For many of these options the forage is dried and lacking vitamins, minerals, and protein, and is high in lignin. The lignin makes it very hard for cattle to break down and utilize the forage. These types of forages require a protein, mineral, and vitamin supplementation. The protein feeds the rumen’s bugs which helps break down and digest that rigid and woody forage. Without active and healthy rumen bugs, the fiber cannot be fully digested, and it will start to pass through the cattle in their feces. Have you ever noticed you cattle’s poop start to stack up and not spread out like a normal cow pie? If so, that is the fiber passing through undigested. The cattle can ingest it, but not break it down to utilize it. If this goes on for too long, you will start to notice your cattle losing condition.

Let SWG help! There are many options for protein, mineral, and vitamin supplementation during the late grazing season and winter months.

Smartlic: Nutritionally engineered tubs to meet all your cattle’s needs

  1. Variety of protein tubs to fit your needs
  2. Include the daily minerals and vitamins
  3. Labor savings
  4. Helps utilize area of the pasture that they would be less likely to visit

Payback: Three different products that provide protein and minerals to your herd.

  • Opti-Pro Range 80 chelated is a loose mineral
    • Free choice mineral with 80% protein
    • Safe slow-release Urea
    • Payback Liquid feed
      • Forager Liquid is designed for grazing
      • Lick tanks for free choice feeding
      • Pouring bales prior for feeding or grinding
      • Increase palatability & nutrition content
    • Payback cake products
      • Provide extra protein & minerals
      • Use to replace forage
      • Great way to fill in the nutritional gaps

It is our goal to help our livestock producers effectively utilize what feeding products they have and to ensure the health and longevity of their cattle and their operation.

Sarah Thompson, Field Consultant Lemmon Terminal

From the Board Room – Aug 2022 Grain Mill

Shane Sickler

Here we go, off and running as harvest quickly approaches. Producers are busy getting combines, trucks, and grain carts serviced and ready to harvest that first field. We’ve all been there… ten minutes later head back home and wait a few more days. It happens every year!

I know by time you read this issue of The Grain Mill, we should all be busy harvesting, and some might be finished with early crops like peas and barley. Everyone is anxious to get into the fields to see how the yields will be after our crazy wet spring. While most of us need to thank God and Mother Nature for the unforgettable spring moisture, some areas of southwest North Dakota haven’t seen decent rain since May. Those rains were badly needed to replenish farmers dry fields and save livestock producers from needing to liquidate their herds again this year. Most pastures came back better than we could imagine and hopefully everyone was able to put up enough good hay to get through another winter.

June did pack a punch for some producers with the unfortunate “summer snowstorms”. It sure looked like snow as hail drifted and piled up along roadways, tree rows, and buildings, as well as fields. I’m sorry for those that got hit. It sure puts a knot in your stomach after all the hard work to get fields planted, especially with the high input costs this year. As farmers and ranchers, it seems we rarely have a year without challenges and this year was no exception.

As the days got longer, spraying was in full gear with large pest problems we hoped we wouldn’t have this year. Grasshoppers moving out of tall grass to the ends of fields and then into the fields for their main course. I don’t get it… Grandpa always said if it’s a late, wet spring, those pesky buggers wouldn’t survive! These days they found a way to stay warm and dry and become a huge problem. There are more little hoppers than most of us have seen since the 80’s. Increased spraying was needed and SWG worked hard to get the spray and chemical products producers need. Thank you to Delane, and the management team, for serving our needs to get fields planted, sprayed, and now ready for harvesting.

You will notice that some SWG locations have more room for your crop storage. Brian worked hard to get rail cars lined up for August and September to move more grain. SWG is ready to get your crops to town. The Lemmon location is finishing up a new dryer storage facility to handle more grain, especially for the area corn producers.

I want to wish everyone a great harvest! Remember, we are all going to have “those days” when you wonder what can go wrong next. Slow down and take a moment to realize you are not in the game alone. Let’s all work together, do what we are good at, overcome problems that are going to come up, and get the grain in the bins.

Stay safe, healthy, and grateful… and take care of each other!

Shane Sickler, SWG Producer Board President

Regional Manager’s Report – Aug 2022 Grain Mill

Delane Thom

We are in the month of August 2022 with this newsletter, and we have finalized the first three quarters of fiscal 2022 as of May 31, 2022. We made it through the spring planting season without any major issues, unless you count the massive amount of snow received starting on April 12th, and the welcomed moisture since then. With the spring starting as one of the driest in history, it was again a much different year. Coming into Spring 2022 with no subsoil moisture was a big concern, but the snow and rain since then changed the outlook a lot. Most of the acres got planted, starting with very dry conditions, and finally wondering if we would get it all in due to wet fields. As of this writing, we are expected to see temperatures in the high 90’s but generally the crop is in pretty good condition. As I have traveled to the East, I saw areas not far away with too much moisture and they did not get all the acres planted. It appears the recent rain came at the right time and was very beneficial to the crops. Commodity values have taken on a new life and are still at multi-year highs for all grains, but off the highs of a few weeks ago.

Planted acres appear to be somewhat normal in terms of crop planted, with some shifting of acres due to timing and commodity prices at planting time. Our grain handle for the first three quarters of fiscal 2022 is down compared to last year and it is hard to predict what grain quality and production will be given the weather extremes we are experiencing. The winter wheat harvest has progressed into the Dakotas, with reports of good yields in some areas and others that are still in the extreme drought areas. This is a similar varied story as last year. Early reports on the winter wheat quality were good test weight and protein in the 10.5 to12.5 range. Lack of rain in the south pushed the wheat harvest along rapidly. The harvest season will be drawn out this year because planting got delayed after the snowstorm in April.

There is a USDA report coming out on August 12th. This will have some states posting “recertified” planted acres as well as some updated yield estimates which could impact market direction. Grain shipments (mostly corn at this point) out of the Ukraine has tempered commodity markets as that volume comes into the world markets in a slow but steady fashion. Ethanol demand has been good, so that is friendly to corn. Soy oil is in high demand too, which is friendly to soybeans. Wheat will build ending stocks to use ratios again. The current crop year yields will determine what direction wheat wants to go. Commodity prices are still at better values than recent years, but wheat may come under more pressure based on export and domestic demand, or lack thereof. There will be a period of continued volatility as the markets figure this out, as the markets always do.

At the end of May (3rd quarter), SWG is ahead of budget and hoping to finish the 4th quarter of the fiscal year strong. Even though grain volume is down, margins are good, and the input side of the business looks to be lower in volume but strong margins due to early positioning of input products. We tasked our employees to be very diligent in monitoring grain quality inbound, as there is still a wide range of carryover qualities out there. One bright spot is the higher commodity values, which makes it easier to deal with any quality discounts or cleaning costs to get grain marketable. With more normal weather conditions, the energy business felt the impact of more demand for diesel and gas. Grain drying will remain up in the air until we get later in the harvest season. Due to the wet conditions and abundant grass in pastures, we noticed less volume of feed sales. Cattle producers are doing what is right, but the demand is just less. It looks like this year will be a year to build hay supplies as the hay crop is far better than what we have had in past years.

The crop input values tend to follow the grain markets and were stronger thru the season driven somewhat by demand, but higher prices limited volumes. Supply issues were not present to any major extent during the 2022 planting season. Refined energy products are still in adequate supply too as the world starts to come out of the pandemic slowdown. Energy demand is picking up as people are traveling more. It appears that domestic travel is much higher than a year ago and that alone is a good sign that people are trying to get back to normal. This drives some near-term demand for energy products.

Feed and Animal Health sales remained strong even with the much better pasture conditions and hay crop. During good times, it is still important to keep livestock herds maintained and healthy. Check with your nearest SWG Feed Sales rep and help them understand your needs and we will be happy to help. A strong mineral program and water monitoring is always a good management practice when cattle are on grass. Water quality is less of a concern this year but still needs to be considered as we get into the drier time of the year. When and if, nutrition is not the total solution, remember to get your animal health products from your nearest SWG location. If you have a prescription from your vet that needs to be filled, we can accommodate that at our locations that handle animal health Rx products. We have some very knowledgeable staff and good working relationships with several of the local veterinarians that allow us to service all your animal health needs. We will fill all VFD prescriptions at all our locations and have the training in place to maintain the necessary records to comply. Let us know what you need, and we will do our best to make it available when you need it.

As it relates to Safety and Compliance, we continue to update and maintain our facilities and continue with ongoing training for our employees to create a safety culture that is good for both the company and our owners. We are continually educating our staff on safety and a host of new compliance issues. It seems like when we get one thing covered, another one pops up to deal with. Safety and the health of our employees and customers will be an ongoing process as we figure out how to continue to work and remain healthy. We have a good group of local Safety Specialists that are working on safety all day, every day, with the intent of becoming more proactive as we promote Safety and Compliance. Thanks to our employees for making Safety and Compliance a part of the culture and for maintaining our level of excellence. Safety at the farm level is something that should not be taken for granted. As we approach harvest and haying season for 2022, everyone needs to pay attention to doing things the safest way possible. Taking chances never works out well. Working safely should be talked about daily and each one of you should have a plan in place. If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, what makes you think you will have the time to do it over?

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 who are out of the area to make them aware of the process. They simply need to call us, and we will check on the equity balance, see if it is eligible, and send the necessary forms for the request. Age 70 retirements should be submitted as always and as CHS approaches the end of the fiscal year they will review those applications and will retire what they are able. Estates still come first and remember to contact us if you have questions.

As always, thank you for your continued support of the cooperative system, and for putting your trust in our people and your 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 Safe by Choice”.

I will leave you with this quote:  “Public opinion is nothing more than this: it is what people think other people think.”

Delane Thom, Regional Manager

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