Thoughts on Harvest

Published on: 09:49AM Oct 07, 2009
I had the opportunity to ride in a 12-row CLAAS corn chopper last week. Wow, what an impressive piece of equipment. As I enjoyed the view from the cab, I wondered what all of you were seeing in the field.
Our clients have shared a variety of comments on harvest conditions, ranging from “it’s better than expected” to “we’re gonna freeze tonight and the only thing we’re doing up here is silage.” That comment came from Wisconsin, where fall swooped down from Canada on 40 mph winds.
Another thought that came to mind during my ride was how important it is to always choose the right tool for the job. A 12-row chopper isn’t right for everyone. That principle holds true for any task. A highly skilled carpenter can use a hand saw to cut a board square and true. As for me, I’d go with a table saw equipped with cutting guides.
In farm marketing, some producers are like the skilled carpenter, well-equipped to use the “hand tool” and do much of it themselves. These producers may be suited to using a discount or traditional broker. If you are…
  • a good independent thinker,
  • disciplined,
  • knowledgeable about each tool and how and when to use it,
  • willing to consistently put in the time to manage your strategies and positions, and
  • have the willingness and guts to pull the trigger when it’s necessary…
…then you may be very well suited to using a discount or traditional brokerage firm.
On the other hand, if you …
  • are often too busy in the field or with other aspects of your business to pull the trigger or make a decision confidently, or
  • lack the time to learn how to use the sophisticated tools it takes to market your crop well, or
  • do not have the desire to acquire more knowledge and skills…
…then a fee-based marketing advisor or consultant might be a better match for your situation.
It just depends how you want to spend your time.
I’m sure you can think of examples where using the wrong tool was frustrating. So while you’re out there harvesting your crop with the tools of your choice, think about the tools you’re using, whether they are a good fit, and whether you enjoy using them.  
Be safe during harvest. I wish you well. And, please, if you get a moment, share how it’s going.
Scott Stewart is president and CEO of Stewart-Peterson, a commodity marketing education and advisory firm based in West Bend, Wis. You may reach Scott at 800-334-9779, email him at [email protected], or visit .