And no, this is not in reference to those somewhat awkward transition moments between childhood and the teenage years; rather, it’s referring to those somewhat awkward transition moments between two consecutive crop harvests. Whether it’s between wheat and corn harvest in the Midsouth, or bean and corn harvest in the upper Midwest, these moments have the tendency to be some of the most stressful and difficult to manage periods in your entire grain merchandising year. Even the best laid plans to deal with these time frames can sometimes take a back seat to the dynamic duo of harvest: Space and Logistics. It is the time and effort poured into these preharvest, flexible merchandising roadmaps that allow basis traders to maintain their bearings in the midst of a bumper crop followed by another bumper crop, one such scenario as we appear to be approaching this very moment.
Imagine for just a few seconds what it would feel like to be caught in this crop-to-crop squeeze, blindly trying to make it through without losing your mind, taking whatever the market is willing to give and on terms that likely aren’t in your best interest, all the while trying to keep your head above water regarding your space. Not something that one would tend to dwell upon fondly, and as a seasoned merchandiser this is a situation that you plan to avoid if at all possible. Now imagine trying to manage this scenario for three, five or even twenty different locations! That will never happen, right? Until you get the call. “Hey, I know it’s a week before corn harvest, but I have to get this wheat out of my bins to make room! What can we do?” Well, if you have farmer customers who have come out of one crop with their bins brimming with grain, have nothing sold ahead, and are trying to get said bins cleaned out and grain moved prior to the next crop, then you have the potential to be forced to deal with just such a scenario, many times over.