Research HighlightsGrain delivery app completed in time for 2017 harvest
By Kentucky Soybean Board
The Kentucky Soybean Board partnered with the University of Kentucky to develop an app to help Kentucky soybean producers to accurately calculate and compare the price offered by elevators, considering delivery costs and high-moisture penalties for grain as it is harvested.
While increased on-farm storage has decreased the amount of beans that some farmers deliver to the elevator directly from the field, farmers face a “dock” or reduction in price paid at the elevator for beans sold with high moisture content. Storing the crop to lessen the moisture content is an expensive proposition, though. Farmers have to truck the grain to their on-farm storage bins, load it into the bins, then load the grain back into trucks and haul it to the elevator, using not only extra fuel for the trucks, but additional labor for the driver.
Not all farmers have on-farm storage, and this app may very well be the tool that helps them determine their profit margin by calculating transportation costs to various elevators. With high moisture content grain that is trucked straight to the elevator from the field, the moisture discount can make a significant difference in profit by the load and for the crop year.
This app, available now on both the Apple and Android platforms, helps the farmer to calculate the return on investment for delivering high-moisture soybeans to one elevator versus the combined costs of basis, transportation and moisture discounts at another, thus pinpointing and reducing avoidable transportation costs. While the inputs affecting transportation and moisture discounts may be complex, this app helps producers eliminate the unnecessary cost of delivering to an elevator that will result in a smaller net profit.
This app calculates in real-time the comparative prices that a producer can expect to receive from different elevators based on grain moisture and costs to haul it to each elevator. It relies on five important features of mobile devices: mobility and availability, connectivity and real-time information, computational power, sensors and individual customization. The mobility and availability of these devices means that the producer can use this service in the field as truckloads of grain are being filled. Internet connectivity means that the app can easily request the driving distance between a given location and every elevator under consideration. This same connectivity provides the mechanism for farmers to enter current prices for each elevator. The computational power of these devices is used to evaluate the complicated equations that govern grain drying so that comparisons between different elevators are possible. The location sensors on a device are used to determine current field location if the producer is using the app in the harvested field. The app can also store information such as individual producer costs for grain transportation.
The app, named Best Bean Buyer, is available in the App Store for Apple users and on Google Play for Android users. There is no charge for the app, because it was developed using checkoff dollars invested by the Kentucky Soybean Board to provide value and a competitive advantage for Kentucky’s producers. While easy to use, the app does require some set-up and customization to make it fully functional. Dr. Jordan Shockley, Assistant Extension professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky, has developed a short YouTube tutorial to help producers get the app set up and ready to use.
This project was funded by the soybean checkoff. To find research related to this research highlight or to see other checkoff research projects, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.