Storage and Marketing are Inseparable — Here’s Why

- Glenn Friesen

As 2017 winds to a close, everyone involved in the seed and grain business is thinking about next year. What did I do right this year? What did I do wrong? What do I need to know so that I can ensure my success in 2018? These are all common questions.

Thankfully, there’s a simple strategy for giving you peace of mind when it comes to looking ahead to 2018. You have to think of yourself not just as a grower, but also as a marketer. Storage and marketing are intertwined, and whether we like it or not, we’re in the marketing business.

Grain storage is essential to any operation since the commercial grain handling system in Western Canada cannot store the entire grain crop.

In a recent survey, Alberta had approximately 25 million tonnes of permanent on-farm storage capacity and about 15 per cent of grain stored in temporary storage such as grain rings or bags.

On-farm storage is important for marketing — prices are typically the lowest at harvest, and storage becomes crucial. Also, the market simply cannot absorb the whole volume of crop in the three-to-six weeks of harvest.

Even in years of record production, the need to increase storage is essential. Permanent storage provides piece of mind that your grain is protected from weather and wildlife damage. If you operated a store, you wouldn’t dream of standing by and allowing the roof to leak and make the product on your shelves wet. Why treat your seed or grain like that?

Most things in agriculture can’t be controlled. Be it weather or the markets, it can be stressful to ponder the fact that the majority of what happens on a daily basis is completely out of your sphere of influence.

However, your ability to store seed and grain is something you have total control over, and proper storage is what enables you to market your own product and reap the best returns possible, regardless of what Mother Nature or the markets throw your way.

Farm storage is a marketing tool and can increase net returns.

Remember that, and you’ll enjoy a better night’s sleep and be better prepared for what 2018 is bound to throw your way.