Harvest Is Over, Let's Crunch Numbers

Between the Fencerows

The time has come to review the year, finalize hybrid picks and settle insurance issues

Published on: December 3, 2013

Disappointment dawned last week as we determined our test plot was a bust.  It was a victim of the wind storm a few weeks ago.  I did grab five ears from each hybrid – they are laying on the office table in zip lock bags.  I have yet to decide if I will do a hand estimate on yield or just feed the squirrels.  I would simply weigh out each sample if we had grandpa's ear sheller.  He had rigged an electric motor on it to shell popcorn.  It was lost in the mid-90s when his chicken house burned down. 

Planting the plot was a lot of work last spring, but really what decisions can you make from somewhat random information we are left with?  On the bright side, we were able to take notes on which hybrids had better stalk strength.

We have begun to review outside plot data to determine which hybrids may make the cut for our 2014 lineup.  At this point in time, we are selecting corn that we like because of yield potential and characteristics.  Though we have had seed on order for several months, we are starting to tweak orders a bit.  As we get to January, and find out what allotment of seed we will actually receive, we will place hybrids in each field.  Soybean selection comes along slower.  We grow many non-GMO and IP beans, most of those plans won't get finalized until February or March. If we do decide to make a push toward more soybeans next year, we will secure additional seed stock soon.

In wrapping up 2013, I usually calculate what our drying expense is on a per bushel, per point basis.  We literally burned through five transport tankers of gas this year.  With intermittent liquid propane shortages, there weren't any bargains this fall.  It appears our cost per point per bushel was 2.7 cents, including estimated electric charges.  This does not include any allowance for wear and tear on the dryer/facilities or any losses due to handling. 

This season did run later than normal.  I just found out we are nearing the crop insurance deadline to open claims.  I have not had time to tally up the yields, but suspect we may have a revenue claim on corn due to the price decline.  If you haven't checked yet, I would get with your agent.  I was told insurance companies may not honor the claim if you don't get things rolling.  I have decided to open claims on everything, and sort things out as we go.