Is there a new grain dryer in your future?
The farmer on the phone wasn’t sure where to start. After limping through last fall, he wanted to upgrade his grain handling capacity. But should he trade dryers or add more wet holding capacity?
Two factors complicated the issue. First, he farms primarily rented land near an area that was developing rapidly before the economy tanked. However, he owns his grain center. Second, he’s already in his 50s, and not sure how long his son will farm.
He turned to Purdue University Extension, starting with his local ag educator. Specialists helped him ask the right questions. How many more years would he farm? What would he do with his grain center if development forced him out? What was his current debt? How much more debt could he handle?
When grain prices hit the skids after the January Crop Report, he pulled in his horns. At last report, he was leaning toward upgrading his dryer, but holding off on further improvements.
• Think through long-term consequences before upgrading dryer, adding bins.
• Arrive at decision quickly to boost chances of getting equipment.
• For information about energy grants, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/IN.
Adding to his Excedrin headaches was the need to make a quick decision. For the first time in years, people were stacked up waiting to talk to grain dryer and grain bin reps at the National Farm Machinery Show. Most company reps insisted their company will do everything it can to deliver what they sell. Yet some farmers wonder if it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be ordering equipment for 2011, not 2010.
There are also those who think farmers are overreacting. Many dryers were rarely used for years before 2009. Some believe they’ll sit idle again.
On the flip side, there’s the central Indiana farmer who insists he’s not risking another season like 2009. He struggled with a dryer more than 30 years old. Betting that another wet harvest won’t happen for five years isn’t a gamble he’s willing to take. He’ll take delivery of his new dryer any day.
INVESTIGATE, THEN INVEST: Do your homework before upgrading your dryer. Be sure to check out the farm bill’s energy grant program.
This article published in the March, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.