Berryton, Kan.

I had not quite given up on getting some post-harvest fall fertilizer applications done when the calendar rolled to December. We had some rain around Thanksgiving, more than I had hoped we would get, but the forecast was dry. Mother Nature had other plans. It did stay dry, but it wasn’t warm enough to get much drying done. The nail in the coffin was 5 inches of snow during Dec. 15-16. Now I look to spring.

All my seed orders are in. We had some acres off rotation this year with the weather issues we faced, and so some acres will follow off rotation again next year. With all the order payments coming up after Jan. 1, I have been glad that soybean bids have been moving up quickly lately as I raise funds for these bills. Basis at our main eastern Kansas delivery points has improved quickly the past two months, paying even versus futures now. Cash bids exceeded $9.30 leading up to Christmas. Combined with hedges I had in place, I have been pleasantly surprised by this opportunity to deliver about 25% of the crop. I am hopeful this rally in futures continues through January and gives producers a chance to lock in some profitable prices on 2020 bushels.

As a new producer, I lean heavily on knowing my costs in detail and knowing where to sell to make money. I have 70% of expected 2020 bean production and 40% of expected 2020 corn production hedged, with cheap puts purchased on most of the remaining bushels at levels that would still produce a farm-wide profit even at much lower prices — so long as the production is there.

I hope you and your family are looking forward to next season as I am. Wishing you all a Happy New Year and a successful 2020!

Local basis: corn even, soybeans -0.45, hard red wheat -0.15. — Ryan Johnson