Soybean harvest is barreling toward completion in our 26-county area. We believe we are near 85% complete with bean harvest at Landus. According to Jon Setterdahl, Vice President of Grain Operations, we base this completion number on three things; 1) our pre-harvest conversations with you about your on-farm storage estimates versus what you'll be hauling in at harvest, 2) our agronomic reviews of area fields during our first-annual crop yield tour in August 3) comparing those two receipt estimates to our actual scale receipts.
It seems like this fall's bean harvest has been going smoothly for most of you. Those outside of the derecho impacted areas are seeing variable yields based on rain totals. (Beans seemed to fare better in the derecho area than corn in the winds unless they also got hail.) Overall, we are estimating yields are down 5-15% as compared to trendlines due to drought.
However, the good news for your cooperative is that the oil content has been above average due to Mother Nature. More than half of the soybeans we buy go to the SoyPlus plant in Ralston. This consistent demand center consumes up to 70,000 bushels 363 days per year. According to SoyPlus plant manager, Kevin Grundmeier, based on our first three weeks' worth of new crop beans, this higher oil content means your cooperative can market 7/10th of a pound per bushel more oil every day than we did last year. Most of that soybean oil is sold to REG in Ralston to make biodiesel. Some of it is refined and packaged as a livestock feed additive called PureGold, marketed out of Landus' Jefferson Beef Feed Center.
Setterdahl added that the soybean crop is also dry – averaging 11.6%. That means the SoyPlus plant is saving expensive natural gas because the beans don’t have to be dried as much as years past.
In the northwest area of our territory, beans yields seem to be off about 10 bushels per acre. For every 80-acre field, that's a truckload. That starts to add up in a hurry in terms of traffic load. As a result, scale times thus far are averaging 10 minutes for soybeans.
We appreciate your business and are looking forward to helping you finish corn harvest, which we know for many is a challenging, slow process.