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Harvest Hacks: Getting the Most Out of the Season (and Beyond)

Hear updates from four ADM grain marketing and fertilizer experts.

There’s nothing that matches the excitement of harvest and seeing healthy crops come out of the ground. However, it’s a busy time that can feel overwhelming and the days can start to blur together. But you’re not alone and ADM has the latest from the field to help you make the most of the season.

In episode 37 of In The Driver’s Seat, Doug and Shelby speak with four ADM professionals from across the Farm Belt to get a round-up of how harvest is going and to learn about some “harvest hacks” that can save you time, worry, and keep your harvest on track, so you can focus on enjoying the moment and giving it your best. Really, these are hacks that can serve you well year-round.

Ashley Duehn, an ADM Fertilizer Territory Manager, gave a report on harvest in Minnesota:

ashley duehn“Soybean yields (in Central Minnesota) have been phenomenal, with estimates of anywhere between 50 and 60 bushels per acre. (The early look at) corn in a couple of areas….is also very, very promising.

HACK: When you don’t want to think about buying fertilizer, you should be buying.

Duehn tells us just like the grain market, the fertilizer market is seasonal, but runs opposite to grains and tends to offer bargains this time of year. “Now is a great time to purchase your fall or spring nitrogen and your potash,” she says.

Noah Radde, an ADM Grain Origination Specialist in Central Indiana reports:

noah radde“Soybean yields are in the mid-50s for bushels per acre for most of our territory.”

Dryness has been a problem in places, with 10 percent moisture making for difficult cutting, but as harvest has proceeded, moisture levels are rising to 13, 13.5, even 14 percent. The majority of corn is in the 22-25 percent moisture range, but they have seen some as low as 14.5 percent in central Indiana. In eastern and southern areas of the state, there was significant corn replanting. That later-planted corn is just now starting to black layer.

HACK: Take some time every week to review your marketing plan.

“By yourself, or with a grain origination specialist like me, you should review and set aside time every week to see where you are in your grain marketing plan,” says Radde.

“The results could be as simple as catching up on tickets, reviewing your contracts, looking at the average price of what you’ve sold and how much of your crop you’ve sold. The newly launched online platform, GrainBridge, can easily help you do this. Or you can talk directly to your origination specialist. When you do these regular self-reports, you can feel more confident with your yields and the plan you have in place.”

HACK: Safety is the biggest item in the big picture.

Radde adds, “The grain marketing plan is important, but the most important aspect of harvest is getting back home to your family”.

Eleven months ago, Radde was involved in a grain bin rescue where a young man unfortunately lost his life. It will be an incident he’ll never forget, highlighting the importance of farmers reviewing safety tips at harvest, and being aware of each other and their surroundings at all times.


Charlotte Metz, an ADM Grain Origination Specialist, based at the ADM elevator in Niantic, Illinois, tells us:

charlotte metz

“Yields (for early-planted soybeans) have been coming in steadily at the 70-plus bushels per acre range, though later-planted soybeans are more of a mixed bag. On the corn side, it’s not a bumper crop by any means, but pretty steady in the 220-240 bushels per acre range.”

HACK: Do pre-reviews and account reviews of your business year-round to make sure everyone is on the same page and especially going into harvest. Also have an exit strategy.

Short-circuit anxiety by knowing you have price targets in place as you head into harvest, Metz guides. Know your break-evens and your cost of production.

A plan that sets targets and sticks with them assures the business is moving forward on a good footing. If you are going to wait, at least know what level you are waiting for, instead of waiting and hoping and pushing the problem off. For example, if you want to set basis on the soybeans that you’ve brought in so far, that’s great, but know when you are going to exit that position.

HACK: Sign up and soak in industry communications from your ADM representative and other credible sources to help support your grain marketing decisions.

One of the keys to increasing success is frequent communication between the ADM representative and the farmer. Metz reaches out to her customers on a daily basis.

“If there’s any opportunity in the market that I see, I want to make sure that you are made aware of it in a timely fashion,” Metz says.


Justin Katt, an ADM Origination Manager in Nebraska reports:

Justin Katt

“The soybean harvest has been moving along at a great pace. We’ve had essentially perfect weather for harvest this year. The crop was planted in a timely fashion, mid- to late-April, and it has progressed nicely with the warm weather this past summer.”

Dryland soybeans have been averaging around 45 bushels per acre, and dryland corn between 160 to 180 bushels per acre.

“The irrigated corn is going to be really strong. You hear a lot of it is in the 250 range, and even a tad higher in some of the areas due to the summer heat,” Katt notes.

HACK: Control the things that you can control.

“You can’t go back and change the decisions you made previously this year,” Katt reminds us. “You were making the best decisions at the time.”

After letting go of any regrets, you can focus on your current production. Selling into the cash market may work now since prices have reached $9.75 or $10 per bushel for soybeans. Yet two months ago, fall sales didn’t seem appealing or even realistic when it appeared harvest price would be $8 cash. There’s a similar dynamic in the corn market.

“We probably had some corn sales that maybe don’t feel as good today as they did a few months ago,” says Katt. Once you clear those thoughts, you can focus on marketing your current crop. It gives you something to look forward to and take advantage of in the near term.”

Rehashing previous marketing decisions is an unproductive, emotional exercise. Instead, focus your thoughts forward and make productive, confident decisions with the help of an ADM representative. Harvest is a time when the fruits of our labor are right in front of our eyes. We should remind ourselves why we work so hard to support our families and help them flourish. During the busyness of harvest, it’s essential to always keep the big picture in mind – coming home safely to our families at the end of the day. Strive for the best production, but remember there’s always another season.

ADM is providing this communication for informational purposes, and it is not a solicitation or offer to purchase or sell commodities. The recommendations in this communication do not take into account any particular individual’s or company’s objectives or needs, which should be considered before engaging in any commodity transactions based on these recommendations. The sources for the information and recommendations in this communication are believed to be reliable, but ADM does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of the information or recommendations. ADM or its affiliates may hold or take positions for their own accounts that are different from the positions recommended in this communication. The information and recommendations in this communication are subject to change without notice.