In-Season Ideas

December 12, 2008 06:00 PM
"Bin” Looking for Storage?

Big crops yield big storage needs. Before renting your neighbor's grain bin, take a minute to iron out the details. Putting a final agreement in writing ensures both parties are on the same page.

Bin owners should determine their fixed costs, such as depreciation, interest, repairs, taxes and insurance, before deciding on the rental rate. Also remember to factor in electricity costs. Renters should consider the amount of grain they need to store and the necessary storage time. Inspect the bin before agreeing to a rental arrangement.

In a written agreement, include names and addresses of the owner and tenant and the location, capacity and description of the bin. Outline the beginning and ending dates of the lease, who will maintain equipment and who will pay for repairs. Determine who is responsible for insurance (grain and building should be insured separately by their respective owners). Discuss any restrictions on when fans may be run, how to access the facility with large equipment, who will provide augers for filling and unloading and who will maintain the surrounding area. Decide on who will pay the utility and energy expenses and when. Agree on the amount of rent payment, when it will be due and consequences if not paid on time.

Record Organization

Before purchasing a new record-keeping software program, farmers should investigate the value of such a program to their operation and determine which records they want maintain. Good managers should maintain records on planting and fertilizer rates, pesticides, fuel consumption and harvest data to determine if production areas are performing to expectations.

The table below identifies five software programs and their common features. The summary does not cover all available programs or individual program features. Many of the programs have other capabilities, such as keeping livestock records. Note the differences in price, operating systems, compatible technology and the level and cost of software support that the company provides.

Before making a decision, take advantage of the free program demonstrations that many software companies provide on their Web site.

Additional software packages, as well as comparisons of additional features and technical information, can be found on Oklahoma State University's Extension Web site at Search for "Crop and Forage Record-keeping Software” to download a PDF comparison chart. Contact information for the software companies listed below are also included.


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