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From the Field


Shane Beckman, 33 Seldon, Kansas From the Field


1. What markets exist for your sorghum? How do you market your sorghum? My dad and I market the grain. T e closest market we have is Western Plains Ethanol, which is about 25 miles from our farm headquarters. If sorghum has a strong export program we market our grain through Cargill in WaKeeney, which is an hour and ten minutes from farm headquarters. T e bulk of marketing tools we use are basis contracts and hedging up to 70 percent of expected production on the board.


2.What challenges do you deal with at harvest? T e biggest harvest challenge is crop dry down or lodging if we get a wind storm. I do not think we will have any harvest issues this year, the crop fi nished nicely. I never have defoliated, while an option, I have always been concerned about giving up that last bit of grain yield.


3. Do you utilize on-farm storage for your sorghum? Why or why not? Oh yes, we use on farm storage. We put 80 plus percent in the bin. My father started using on-farm storage and we have


SORGHUM Grower Fall 2015


continued to add to our storage in my 15 years of farming. On-farm storage has always been a part of our operation, on average we get 20-30 cents a bushel by storing to April.


4. How did the 2015 crop yield? Any surprises? Our dryland yield is better than average. With the dry, hot August and September we lost about 10-15 percent off the top of our yield potential. We averaged 100 bushels to the acre for dryland, which is our yield goal. Our irrigated sorghum is the best that I have ever seen. What we have cut at the time of press for this magazine, we are seeing anywhere from 180- 200 bushel sorghum and still have the good sorghum to cut. I am really excited about it.


5. How did you manage risk for your sorghum? Unfortunately, I didn’t lock in basis this spring. For risk management, we carry 70 percent insurance for our sorghum and complement with a hail policy.


6. Did you encounter the sugarcane aphid this growing season? If so, how did it affect your crop? I didn’t see sugarcane aphids.


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