Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2017 Harvest

Storage tightens At Idaho Grain Elevators

Burley—John Evans of Evans grain in Burley spent most of 2017 getting ready for this month.
He's bought and stored last years grain and is now buying this years crop.

Combines started harvesting wheat this week in the Magic Valley but Evans has enough room for just 650-thousand bushels of soft white wheat.

Just down the road in Rupert Brian Darrington set a yield record of 145 bushels per acre and he says this year is going to be just as big on his farm.

“I’m on track for another record,” said Darrington.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Idaho set an all time record last year producing 101,855,000 bushels averaging a record 91.3 bushels per acre.

After Idaho’s record wheat harvest last year farmers and grain elevators struggled to find storage space for the record harvest. Piles of last years bumper crop are still sitting besides elevators across the state.

As the first wheat is harvested in the Magic Valley farmers worry about storing wheat that they hope to sell when the market is up.

“Farmers are in a bad spot in terms of storage of grain,” said John Evans of Evans grain in Burley. It’s mainly because we had a lot of white wheat carry-over.

Evans says the Ogden market where most of Eastern Idaho grains are trucked are already awash with wheat.

“Freight rates are so high we can’t ship it down the river anymore for export, That used to be our release but these days no one can afford to get the grain to Portland, competitive rates aren’t there,” said Evans.

To deal with the large crop, farmers, grain elevators, and co-ops are looking at temporary or emergency storage space. John Evans thinks the season is looking up and thats good. But the bad thing is that storage is going to be tight and storage could be the key in making money.

“If you can figure out a way to store your grain, find a place to store it,” said Evans. “Even if you got to pay 3-cents per bushel to store the stuff, you got to do it. This year is different kind of year than last year. Prices are going to be higher. We’re having some weather issues in the Midwest, the Dakotas, Canada and Australia. If you got some white wheat we’re pushing the markets at $4 1/4 to $4 1/2 I think producers better take advantage of it.”

Evans knows once the harvest is in he only has so much space, some producers will look hard at temporary storage.

“I don’t have that much storage, I have 225,000 out in Paul. We have 340,000 out in Heyburn so we have about 650 thousand bushels we can store but we already have carry-over and the grain is coming in fast,” said Evans.

Evans hopes some of the soft winter will get out on the rails and head east. He said last year producers had no where to go because the market was so over whelmed with record yields. And the brewing companies will play a factor this year.

“The Maltsters like Anheuser Busch over contracted, they sent out a letter in June saying they were not going to take their commitment until September of this year,” said Evans. “So that means that farmers that were hoping to empty their bins by harvest don’t have a place to go.”

Evans adds that producers need to be on their toes this harvest season.

“So producers need to shop around for your storage, if they see a decent price take advantage of it. We saw what happened with white wheat last year. Same thing might happen this year with some decent yields.There’s still so much carry over from last year, I’m telling producers don't get greedy, if you see a good price, sell,” said Evans.

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