August/September 2008

August/September 2008

A Global Focus on Quality


August/September 2008 Articles

Sure, change can be good but I don’t have to like it, right?

August 28, 2008 | Editors Note |

Sure, change can be good but I don’t have to like it, right?

Change is all around me and I’ll be the first to admit, it drives me crazy sometimes. As a parent of two teenagers and a pre-teen who is convinced she’s ready to live on her own, changes are dramatic. One moment they hang on your every word like you’re some wise mystic, a proverbial stacked-trait soybean with tons of value. Now, it seems my end-user audience finds my valid driver’s license as the only “value added” component of...

[Read More]

The Times They Are A-Changing’

August 28, 2008 | Departments |

“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
For the times they are a-changin’”
Excerpt: 1964 – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan certainly wasn’t thinking about the grain industry when he wrote “The Times They Are A-Changing” but the lyrics are surprisingly relevant in 2008. The financial sector is in turmoil, inflation is the highest in over a quarter century, record commodity prices...

[Read More]

Keeping it Clean

August 28, 2008 | Special Report |

It is often said that grain quality can never improve after it's been harvested. No matter how well an elevator dries their grain, monitors its bin temperature, manages moisture and controls pests, not much can be done to bring the quality up a notch once it's taken from the plant. For the most part, this notion holds true with the exception of one measure: grain cleaning. Taking this step right after harvesting can get the whole process off to a smooth start. While grain cleaning doesn't...

[Read More]

Maximizing Track Efficiencies

August 28, 2008 | Special Report |

It’s been nearly 200 years since the railroad boom began to change the landscape of North America. Although many of the basic track components are still the same — ties, rail, spikes, plates and frogs — how they come together has changed quite dramatically, particularly in the past 10 years.

The track on which railroads and connecting industries operate is being reconfigured, rehabilitated and expanded to accommodate not only the growing volume of trains but also longer and heavier trains...

[Read More]

Fractionation: An Answer to the Food vs. Fuel Debate

August 28, 2008 | Feature |

As the economy continues to decline and financial experts say we're headed into a recession, American families struggle to put both food on the table and gas in the tank. 2008 saw a 36% increase in milk prices compared to 2007, and the national average price for a gallon of unleaded gas peaked at $4.11 in July. These circumstances have some people asking "Do I feed my kids, or my car?"

Although research released by the American Farm Bureau Federation says that the climb in food costs are...

[Read More]

Measurement and Information: The Currency of Grain Quality

August 28, 2008 | Special Report |

Anyone who doesn't buy into the fact that we operate in a truly global marketplace is only fooling themselves.

That point was clearly reinforced as I sat down for the opening luncheon at the 2008 International Grain Quality and Technology Congress. Joining me at the table were two Argentine researchers, a South African grain industry representative, our keynote speaker representing a Dutch-based financial giant that is a major player in U.S. agribusiness, and all of this, taking place in...

[Read More]

Using Break-even Analysis in Business Decisions

August 28, 2008 | Departments |

Do you have a good understanding of how profitable different products or services might be? Do you know how much product must be sold to cover costs or what happens if costs or prices change? These are important considerations in today’s feed and grain business. Understanding break-even points and break-even analysis can be important to making solid business decisions. You want to be sure you can sell enough product or service to make a profit. In this month’s column, we focus on...

[Read More]