Let’s be honest. Many farmers have never written an actual “grain marketing plan.” Farmers have traditionally relied on their knowledge and experience to make decisions based on trends and gut feelings. Their success using these methods isn’t to be downplayed; instead, by combining those skills with proven strategies and modern technologies, farmers are in good positions to achieve even better results–and likely at a lower level of stress.
Whether or not a season is successful depends on many things: average temperatures and rainfall, unanticipated weather events, the price of fuel, demand, availability of labor, pests, and diseases, and more. With so many factors in play, creating a formal plan to get the most dollars from your crops can seem impossible. However, by following some essential steps and using modern agricultural software, it’s possible to eliminate most guesswork from achieving a successful growing season.
Here are a few tips to maximize your grain marketing plans:
Know what your grain cost of production is.
Your business is managing many expenses for each type of crop you grow. From seed to fertilizer to oil, repairs, labor, leases, and insurance, you need to understand all of the costs that go into growing each acre of your farm. There are a few ways you can do this.
Several organizations provide spreadsheets designed to help you track various costs for each crop. Of course, these worksheets need to be customized to fit your needs, and entering data into a spreadsheet by hand isn’t just time-consuming–it’s prone to errors and mistakes. Using a spreadsheet may be a good start, but it’s not a viable permanent solution.
Modern ag software allows your team to enter data on the go to track expenses. Desktop software and mobile applications provide optimum flexibility so that work crews can track the fertilizer they apply while accounting allocates percentages of overhead costs. With a few clicks, it’s easy to pull reports illustrating annual budgets and actual expenses.
Develop a manageable grain marketing plan.
The key to creating a plan that works is keeping it simple. Your team should be able to execute investments and sales according to plan without being tugged by emotional gut feelings. Having good information about costs and watching the trends for future pricing will allow you to create actionable strategies to sell segments of your inventory at prices to achieve profitability while limiting price volatility risk.
Today’s ag software solutions help farmers manage basis and contracts efficiently. Applications are designed to allow managers to view current costs, local cash prices, and futures prices to make decisions according to your marketing plan. Software systems can also help you construct contracts that are simple to execute and keep them organized for quick review.
Be clear about your goals and your plans.
To be effective, your managers must understand the marketing plan and be clear about the action steps they should take. Once you’ve developed a plan, ask your leaders to review it and provide you with feedback to these questions:
- Do they understand what the business hopes to achieve with the plan?
- Are there measurable goalposts to determine their progress towards achieving your objectives?
- Do teams have the resources they need to complete the action steps or accomplish the plan’s goals?
- Are the goals realistic?
- Does everyone understand the timeline for each stage of the plan?
Are you using the best data to make strategic business decisions?
If you’re wondering if your current agricultural software solution provides you with the best information to create and execute strategic decisions in your business, contact WEnd Consulting today.
WEnd Consulting helps you understand your current processes, identify and evaluate software solutions, and determine which one best fits your organization. But we don’t stop there. We provide your company with the resources they need to implement the new software in a strategic, streamlined approach to minimize disruption to your business. We’ll be at your side throughout the entire process and then some.
If you’re ready to transform your company and reach new levels of success, contact our team at WEnd Consulting today. Let’s talk about how we can help you boost profitability and achieve your goals.