Grain storage

A price rally toward the end of August pushed some farmers to sell grain and avoid potential storage issues.

As harvest nears, elevators are quickly approaching one of the busiest times of the year.

Ryan Edwards, general manager of Farmers Grain Company of Central Illinois, in Latham, Ill., said initially he was a little worried about the possibility of a crunch on storage. However, a price rally toward the end of August has helped ease the burden.

“I don’t know if we have as good a crop as 2018, but we are better than 2019,” Edwards said. “I’ve been shocked at the rally we’ve seen in the last two weeks and the amount we’ve bought. I won’t say my fears are gone, but I feel much better about it now than I did three weeks ago. With a big crop coming, you want to be as empty as you can.”

With less old crop to carry over into the 2020 harvest, Edwards said his elevator cleaned out a few bins in recent weeks.

“I know it’s been a rough year for folks, but we’ve been really lucky in that regard,” Edwards said.

While Illinois is preparing to absorb a potentially big crop, Iowa farmers are hoping for some luck toward the end of the season due to extreme dry weather that has plagued the state, especially the west.

“The dry weather has really cut the potential,” said Bob Hemesath, who farms near Decorah in northeast Iowa. “I’m not sure if there is going to be much of a storage issue here locally.”

Other farmers in northeast Iowa also noted they don’t anticipate storage issues, noting the dry conditions.

The price rally has helped some farmers avoid storage concerns and find boosts that hadn’t been seen for a little while.

“The last couple of weeks, markets have gone up and that has given me a break I didn’t deserve,” said Mark Mueller, who farms near Waverly, Iowa. “I’ve been moving beans and I’m going to have my beans cleaned out by probably (the first week of September).”

Dale Heimerdinger, grain merchandiser for Farmer’s Win Coop in northeast Iowa, said the crops in his area are looking good, but noted the chance for rain to close out the month would be welcome.

“We are kind of on that verge of, well, we need the rain,” Heimerdinger said. “I think (storage) is going to be OK, but a lot depends on the yield which is hard to predict.”

Drought isn’t the only damage concern seen throughout Iowa, however, as farmers and elevators are dealing with the effects of the derecho that rolled through in early August.

The Linn Cooperative Oil Company in Springville, Iowa, saw significant damage from the storm, losing three bins for the season. The managers at that location said they still plan on being open for the season, but warn any customers that lines might take a little longer than expected.

In a release, they also noted with crop damage, they don’t know how much will be coming in this year and to make sure to call ahead to ensure they have the space.