Farmer Update – Todd Strader

Farmer Todd Strader set us this great 2014 harvest update just the other day. He had quite a year, with a summer hail storm destroying much of his wheat crop! Read on to learn about his year, and to see what he has planned for 2015!


2014 Wrap Up – 2014 was a successful however “tough” weather year. The winter wheat (Syngenta’s Ovation Soft White Wheat) was seeded into moisture in late September and went into winter with a great stand and very healthy. However, there was a significant cold snap in late November/early December and also in February with little snow cover to protect the crop. These cold snaps did not kill the winter wheat however they severely stunted the growth and set back the plant significantly. Then, in late July a severe hailstorm hit which caused considerable damage. It is hard to say what “would’ve” been, however I was very pleased with the wheat until the hailstorm. Thank goodness for hail insurance!

I was pleased with the Garbanzo bean crop which was also direct seeded using our Horsch Anderson direct seed drill in late April and early May. The stand was excellent and the crop appeared to be a good one until the same hailstorm. Again, thank goodness for hail insurance! We still harvested a pretty significant crop, however there were significant discounts due to the poor quality and damaged to the beans we harvested.

2014 Marketing – The current price for old crop is $7.05. A little over a month ago I met with several grain marketers and at the time the price was in the $6.50 range. All warned that the prices could take a dip to the $5.50 mark. Since then the price has climbed back to the $7.00 mark. If these prices hold out, I would be happy with $7.00 for old crop as well as starting to contract some for the new crop for 2015 as this price is better than the CRC guarantee. The new crop can be contracted at $6.85 currently and I will look to contract some of the 2015 crop shortly. I like to forward contract 25-33% of the upcoming crop during these next few winter months. With the huge corn crop harvested this year, most domestic commodities have taken a dip, however it appears there is a lack of quality “milling” wheat which is why our soft white wheat prices have steadily climbed post harvest.

As for next year, roughly two thirds of your farm was seeded to winter wheat. The majority of the winter wheat is a 3 way blend of West Bred 456, 523 and Syngenta’s Ovation. The remaining acres were seeded to Syngenta SY 107. SY 107 is a fairly new variety with an excellent disease package with high yields in the “wetter” country near Palouse. I previously sent you a picture of the winter wheat stand going into winter. The stand looked excellent and the crop appeared healthy going into winter.

These last few days I am sure have taken a toll though. As I write this, the temperature is 14 degrees and the wind is blowing 25-30 mph which is not conducive to growing a good winter wheat crop as there is no snow cover.

On the remaining third of the farm, I plan to raise either soft white spring wheat, dark northern spring wheat or barley depending on the prices and discounts and insurance guarantees in the spring. A couple of weeks ago, I applied 40 lbs of Nitrogen on this ground in preparation for spring and I also applied RT3 to kill the volunteer that had come up this fall. The ground appears in great shape in preparation for spring and I look forward to the upcoming year!


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