Recap of 2017 Wheat and Canola Harvest

As wheat harvest has concluded and fall harvest is here, Producer Ag can now reflect on areas of success and the opportunities for improvement.  One of our bright spots this year was the opening of our new terminal in Sumner County.  In late May 2016, we committed to building and having a rail terminal operational in Sumner County by wheat harvest 2017.  Thanks to everyone involved including our partners at CHS, we were ready for wheat harvest and were even able to accept canola starting the last few days of May.

Typically, first-year receipts at greenfield sights can be challenging and setting goals around a variety of unknowns can be difficult.  We did end wheat harvest with strong first year receipts in an environment not conducive to success taking into effect slower than average harvest pace, fewer wheat acres, and stiff competition. We also realize these types of investments often take multiple years to reach their full potential, and we are committed to continued growth in Sumner County.  

As our customers well know, weather is unpredictable and we must consider the perpetually increasing pace of harvest capacity with each new generation of equipment that is introduced. The Terminal was built for speed and space. Therefore, when volumes are low or spread out, they never really reach their maximum capability.  A slower harvest makes it easier for facilities with less speed and space to keep up with the volume being delivered. We know this happened in the Sumner County area as rain delayed harvest multiple times slowing the pace considerably causing no wait times at competing terminals and country elevators.  

As expected, we saw great competition from our neighboring grain companies and cooperatives. Basis levels in the region increased both at terminals and at country elevators as the local competitors positioned themselves in the market.  Normally, due to a terminal’s additional efficiencies and greater end-user market access, terminals can typically bid $.20-$.30 higher than a country elevator.  As the competition countered by bidding within $.10 of the Sumner County Terminal basis, farmers captured millions of dollars of increased revenues they had not captured at harvest time in the past. Thus, the true winner is the farmer.  

As we approach fall harvest and next year’s wheat and canola harvests, we have listened to the input of many of our customers and already begun to improve some of our processes to make the customer experience even better. We are on a journey of continual improvement and as always, we welcome suggested changes at any time from customers, vendors and employees alike.

Our shuttle loader at Canton had another exceptional year and only continues to gain steam.  Area producers continue to demonstrate appreciation for our focus on infrastructure renewal, increasing market share and ultimately receipts at our updated facilities.  TMA continues to use the facility to leverage markets that historically they could not utilize with now hundreds of shuttle shipments of corn, soybeans, wheat, and milo headed to Mexico, the Texas Gulf, and many other destinations.   

As always, our focus remains on the success of the grower and making the investments producers will need to stay competitive in a global market today and into the future.