“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...
Quality — we talk about it lots. Customers are concerned about it — grain farmers that deliver grain to your elevator – where their grain is graded by quality; or livestock farmers that purchase feed from you in the feed business — where they want the highest quality feedstuffs to feed to their dairy cows, poultry, hogs or other livestock. When you sell grain, your customers are also concerned about grain quality of the wheat, corn, soybeans or other grain products that you ship out of...
Once again we are with Mike, the general manager of our mythical multistation grain cooperative located somewhere in the Western Corn Belt. Today, Mike is discussing the company’s P&L with his accountant and the conversation is not going well. Nevertheless, Mike’s temporary misfortune sheds some much-needed light on how discounts can rob you of profits and productivity, and FEED & GRAIN examines ways to minimize the impact discounts have on your bottom line.
In business we must take the good with the bad, and rarely does something truly good come along without a hitch. Ethanol producers found this to be true when they discovered that wet distillers grains (WDG) is not only difficult to handle, but also has a shorter shelf life, resulting in a lower valued product.
Since the ethanol boom began, around the late 1990s, producers have found a market for the co-product. WDG, or wet cake, is more palatable and nutritious for dairy cows and cattle...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: In our last column we presented Part One of a Grade Card for the feed and grain business. This month we give you Part Two of the Grade Card — additional criteria you can use to evaluate your firm in some key strategic management areas. Our grade card can be thought of as a method to assess where your business is — a subjective measuring tool relative to your own perceptions, and perhaps relative to other firms in your industry.
As a little girl I had a small cloth clown that I carried everywhere. He was soft and familiar and infinitely comforting during the numerous trials of my childhood. But Clownie became grubby and beat up, and lost much of his stuffing despite my mother's secret attempts to patch him for me. I still loved him, but one day I recognized that it was time to keep my old friend in my room and carry something else with me.
Managing merchandising risks this year reminds me of my beloved clown. The...
Ever try driving a car that hasn’t had an oil change, a tire rotation or its fluids checked in a year? Chances are you haven’t, and if you did, you were blinded by the check engine light the whole way to your destination. All those maintenance issues, when not properly tended to, can cause a major breakdown. Handling each tiny maintenance procedure at its scheduled time is simple and will save the driver from a serious headache
Grades are a method of rating performance — most commonly used in our schools, colleges and universities. As university professors, we both find them helpful in ranking the accomplishments of our students. In this month’s column, we propose a report card for your grain and feed business.
One of the key messages for the day-and-a-half conference, “Animal Welfare: Building Bridges Across the Food Chain,” will advance is the idea that industry-led voluntary approaches are far superior to government-imposed approaches to animal welfare
This market scares me — truly scares me. The last time I sounded a widespread caution like this was early fall 1995 — that should tell you something. Bull markets come and go. Bear markets come and can drag on for years. Explosive markets come far less often but leave their mark for decades.
In Part One, featured in our January issue, Feed & Grain looked back at the 2007 corn crop and its effect on wheat and grain sorghum acreage use and production last year, and the prospects for trade in 2008. In Part Two, we take a similar look at barley, soybeans and cottonseed supplies.
Feed & Grain takes a look back at 2007 and the massive corn crop’s impact on other feed grains. In Part One of this two-part series, we examine how the grain sorghum and wheat markets responded to the challenges and opportunities of last year and what they can look forward to in 2008.
Selling is an integral part of your feed and grain business every day, and we are sure that you have extensive experience with selling. However, when was the last time you thought about your selling approach and identified factors that could improve your sales effectiveness?
Once again we are with Mike, the general manager of our mythical multistation grain cooperative located somewhere in the western Corn Belt. Today, Mike has wandered into an interesting conversation about subprime mortgages at the coffee shop. And what he hears is enough to make his coffee turn cold.