Tuesday, January 25, 2011

YF&R profiles on Ag

Drew Brammer,(left) explains the finer points of machinery high tech to Bob Smathers, and Jake Putnam of the Idaho Farm Bureau. Steve Ritter photo

Drew Brammer: Good year on the Palouse

Idaho Falls--Drew Brammer is part of a large wheat operation on the Palouse; he got into farming right out of the University of Idaho, he and wife Markita are excited about the future of farming. I talked to Drew at the Young Farmer and Ranchers Leadership Conference in Idaho Falls.

How did this year’s wheat crop shake out?

This year all the wheat we harvested has sold. We wish we hadn’t sold it all because we thought that $6.75 a bushel looked pretty good. Now, I’m hearing from the world markets like Australia that they can’t ship wheat for eight to six months until they get their infrastructure back. Russia burned up last summer in drought they’re freezing out and might not have any wheat. Everything that we are looking at points to a very positive market; the demand for wheat is on the rise. We are wishing we had more wheat to sell but our crop coming up looks pretty good. The fields are melting and we just saw it bare-off a couple of weeks ago.I think with the moisture the pea crop looks pretty good.

Do you think more people will plant more wheat with the current market conditions?

I do, I think there will be a lot more spring wheat this year because of the positive market outlook and out-weighing the other options in our area beans aren’t doing as well as they as they used to, we have some disease issues. People see that when wheat gets above $8-dollars around harvest time they'll look at forward pricing and growing more acres of wheat, if that’s the thing that pencils out the best then there will be a lot more spring wheat planted this year.

What’s the latest on the Port of Lewiston; will that hamper shipping this year?

Actually they are shut down right now. It sounds like the river will be opened by the middle to the end of March. There is some extra trucking available right now. I think at the Port they planned ahead and hauled out as many barges as they could to store up extra space for this time when the river is shut down and there’s also some going by rail and semis but a lot of people planned ahead because they’ve had an extra surcharge that they have been charging us the last couple of years in advance of this whole deal.

Wheat made money this year, was there an investment in equipment or was the money banked for a rainy day?

I've seen quite a few people I know address the emissions issue and invest in the new equipment coming out this next year because it has the required emissions gear that people have been scared about. I’m not sure how it’s all going to work. They all went up to the next level of compliance but still it was across the board some people think inputs are going to be higher this year. It never fails when the market price goes up so does input costs. I think for the most part people were kind of holding on thinking they need to be cautious about what’s going to come, especially this year. Diesel might be $5 dollars a gallon, gas $4 dollars. Overall I think people are being cautious.

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