April 16, 2021

A Year in the Life of a Farmer: Kindreds moving grain ahead of planting season

Follow the Kindred family throughout the entire year. Each month, look for updates about the family members and the decisions they make on their farm.

ATLANTA, Ill. — With the planting season just around the corner, the Kindreds took a break from machinery maintenance to spend a few days last week bringing soybeans to the local elevator.

Ron Kindred and his son, Jay, were emptying about 3,200 to 3,300 bushels of soybeans out of a bin at the homestead March 24 and delivering them by wagons to the nearby elevator.

Soybeans from an adjacent bin of the same capacity were shipped two days earlier. Another adjacent bin with 8,500 bushels of corn was emptied and delivered the previous week.

“We’re loading out soybeans from the grain bin that had been un-priced and we just sold them yesterday,” Ron Kindred said. “Everything has come out in really good shape, and we’re really pleased with the way things have come out. The soybeans in this bin tested 12.7% — good moisture. The last one averaged 13.3%.

“This is a year that I think having storage paid big dividends if you took your time on your marketing and was a little strategic with it. We still have one bin that’s un-priced.

“We’ve been selling as we go. It’s a lot of fun when you’re hauling in $14 soybeans out of a grain bin. You know you’re making some money. It’s much more pleasurable than hauling $8 beans.”

The two soybean bins have some historic significance on the Kindred farm as they’re 18-foot “government bins.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corp. initiated a large-scale grain bin construction program in the late 1940s to store surplus grain. CCC terminated the program in the early 1970s and sold existing grain storage bins and equipment.

“We had a government bin site here in Atlanta and had a guy that moved them in two big pieces, set them in there and we bolted them together. I was part of that back in the 1970s when they did that. We’ve had it on the farm ever since,” Ron said.

Marketing strategy

The fourth-generation Logan County farmer uses multiple sources in his marketing strategy.

“We have a couple different services that we use. I started using Roach Ag Marketing a couple of years ago. I really like their strategy. They have sell signals based on a four box system. When they have a four box sell signal it’s usually time to make a sale. Sometimes they’ll call with a three box or a two box and then you kind of use your own good judgment there. I do like their system. I use Pro Farmer, as well,” he said.

“A lot of times they’re pretty much on the same page about when to sell and how much to sell. I figure when the marketing services are on the same page like that then maybe you should sell an increment.

“I don’t follow it 100%. I’m too independent as a farmer. Sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I’m right. Overall you do need that information to make a good sale and if you don’t have that information you’re just kind of shooting in the dark.”

Kindred added that it’s important to know what the breakeven point is as part of the grain marketing approach.

“There’s time you sell to try to minimize your loss. I’ve done that in the past trying to minimize my loss. Yes, you try to maximize your profits. We’ve sold some straight out of the field, some good yielding beans and good yielding corn and no it wasn’t near $14 and it wasn’t near $5.40, but we still locked in a profit on that. Yes, we gave some money away that we potentially could have had, but I don’t know that you can look at it that way,” he noted.

“I think you have to look at it, yes, I sold it for a profit and be happy with it and move on. This we’re selling for more of a profit.”

Kindred tries to make a point never to look back and wish he would have waited to pull the trigger on a sale sooner or later.

“It’s hard not to do, but I think you have to have that outlook on things that you don’t look back and kick yourself too much because the people that do have some problems with stress. It can be a real problem on the farm,” he added.

Ready For Planting

Looking ahead to the planting season, Ron and Jay have made a lot of progress during the last month getting the equipment ready to roll.

“During this nice weather this last month we’ve got all the oil and filter changed in the tractors and they’re all ready to go. We’ve done the maintenance on our field cultivator, soil finisher, and our planter should be pretty well ready we think. We’re getting there,” Ron said.

“We got the seed tender ready yesterday. We had a few minor things we wanted to do with it. We changed the oil in the little engine on it and changed the oil in our lawn mowers yesterday.

“We’re finding plenty to do, but we still have some things we need to get done before we get in the field. We still have some brush that we cut that we have to get burned and cleaned up. We have brush around the fields after the last ice and wind and we had more come down, so we have to get the chainsaws out and cut some of it. We have probably a week’s worth of work to do before we get in the field.

“Jay and his friend, our new partner, mapped a bunch of our fields last week. They have a few more to map.”

Early Planting

The Kindreds have tried earlier planted soybeans in the past and Ron was asked if he was going to consider it again this year.

“We’re going to watch the weather. I’ve read some articles and have listened to webinars about early planted soybeans. I think the key that I’ve taken away from everything people have said is you need to look at the forecast for the next four or five days and make sure you’re going to have some warm temperatures before you put those beans in,” Ron said.

“Yes, they’ll lay there, but what is the purpose of putting beans in the ground and not having them come up for a month when you can wait maybe a week or two, put them in the ground and have them up in a week or less. I’ve always felt that if you wanted a high-yielding field of soybeans or corn you need to get that stuff off to a good start, have an even stand and then you can nurture it from there. If you don’t have that to start with you’re starting behind and a lot of times you’re not going to catch up.

“We’re ready. We’re going to be planting soybeans and hopefully they’re going to be planting corn at the same time.”

Tom Doran

Field Editor