Harvest comes into Philip
“It’s been better than expected on winter wheat deals,” said Jerry Cope, grain marketer for Dakota Mill and Grain.
Cope was in Philip during part of the local harvest, though he is based out of Rapid City for his large “from Belle Fourche to Miller” responsibilities. “We thought the winter wheat could have been a record, but when the weather hit those high 90 temperatures in early June, we weren’t sure. But, it doesn’t appear that it hurt us very bad.” Cope continued, “I’d say our average will be high 50, maybe 60, bushels per acre.”
Steve Millage, the Philip location manager, was out helping load train cars.
Taking a quick break, Jay Baxter, Philip site manager for Midwest Cooperative, agreed. “Seems like a very successful harvest. Customers got a lot of their crops cut out by today (July 22) and safely. We haven’t heard of any major problems out there. There’s been a few fires with balers, but thank goodness none have gotten out of hand.”
Baxter added, “It was great to see some higher yields. Wish the protein averages were stronger and the market was higher.”
Cope also addressed the ever important factor, other than quantity. “Protein content has been a little lower than we usually see. The discount for lower protein is certainly higher than normal. I think the reason for that is the Kansas wheat crop was a full percentage point lower than their normal protein. And, Kansas has a near all-time record in quantity.” Cope explained the influence Kansas has on the South Dakota wheat market. “If South Dakota is around 60 million bushels, then Kansas is around 450 million bushels.”
Both Philip businesses are working through the harvest as fast and effectively as they can.
“I’m very proud of our new system,” said Baxter. “This has been our first full year that we’ve been able to run with all the bugs worked out. The new system handled the higher yields with efficiency, with no lines of trucks. We were able to turn the trucks back to the field, keeping the combines going.”
“It is amazing to see where the agriculture industry has advanced in grain handling,” said Baxter. He said one truck-driver’s ticket, from weigh-in to weigh-out, stated the entire procedure took three minutes. “We got a train today that we filled. Received it at 9:00 a.m., should have it loaded this afternoon, and, our bins should be full again by tonight,” said Baxter.
Cope concluded with, “Spring wheat looks like it’ll be a high protein year and better than expected yields. The railroad is doing a really good job of keeping up. And, don’t forget, we have excellent people working here in Philip.”
Baxter offered a visual comparison: 37 train cars equals 120 semi-trucks, which equal 120,000 bushels of wheat.