No matter how high yields are, grain prices at harvest don’t always provide farmers the opportunity for maximum profitability. By utilizing on-farm grain storage, producers have the ability to hold their grain for higher prices at future dates, based on market supply and demand.
In addition to the potential for higher returns, having 24/7 access to their own storage systems enables producers to avoid bottlenecks at the elevator. They can get their crops out of the field quickly, when conditions are optimal, which can reduce the risk of grain loss due to wind, stalk quality issues and over-drying in the field.
Given the opportunity for high profitability and increased flexibility at harvest, more farmers are making on-farm grain storage a key component of their grain marketing strategy. As that trend continues, Scott Becker, sales operation manager for GSI (Grain Systems, Inc.), answers common questions from farmers who are considering installing or expanding their on-farm storage to help meet the increasing need for a consistent grain supply:
Q. How long does it typically take to plan and install a storage system?
A. The process can vary depending on the system needs. Typically, installing a grain bin only takes a month or two once an order has been placed. If the system includes conditioning and drying equipment, the process from planning to installation could range from two to six months, depending on the level of complexity.
Q. How much storage capacity do I need?
A. It all depends on how much of your crop you want to store. As a general rule, you should have 10% to 25% more capacity than you plan to store, in case your yield is higher than expected. When considering expanding your grain facility, take into account where you see your operation heading in the next five to 10 years. If you see yourself growing in acres or yield, plan ahead for future expansions.
Q. What options are there for grain drying equipment and which is best for my farm?
A. There are various drying systems available in the industry. GSI offers multiple drying systems – including in-bin, portable, tower and TopDry – as well as other conditioning and material handling equipment. Different variations are designed to meet the specific needs of each farming operation, based on factors such as required capacity, desired moisture content and grain quality.
Q. How do I work with a dealer in building a storage system?
A. At GSI, our dealers play a key role from initial planning and design through installation of storage systems. It is their job to know your operation and thoroughly understand your storage requirements, so that they can deliver the optimal solution to accomplish your objectives. Working with a GSI dealer is more than just a one-time purchase; it’s a partnership that doesn’t end with the completion of your system. They help maintain and service your system throughout its life cycle and will be there ready to help you plan for your next need.
Q. Is there still time to install a storage system for this year’s harvest?
A. Yes, we are here to work with you to help you meet your goals for 2014 and beyond. Don’t assume that it’s too late – check with your local dealer.