Quality Matters: Meeting The Product Handling Challenge

“Farmers will have to do their due diligence in researching varieties that are desirable to buyers as well as offering themselves competitive returns on investment. They should keep varieties separate on-farm, if at all possible.” Meeting The Product Handling Challenge – John Oakes

 

John Oakes
Vice President, Rice
Farmers Grain Terminal, Inc.

The role of Farmers Grain Terminal (FGT) in the U.S. rice industry is unique in that we are a large farmer-owned grain cooperative that also handles rice. FGT is headquartered in Greenville, Miss., with barge loading capabilities on the Mississippi River. At FGT, rice is third in volume following soybeans and corn.

However, FGT offers more contract options for rice than anyone else in the South. FGT offers HTA, Basis, Minimum Price, Flat Price and Seasonal Pool contracts.

In regard to U.S. rice quality problems, these issues appeared during the disastrous 2010 crop. As large as that crop was, it took all of 2010, 2011 and into 2012 to fully flush it out of the system. Unfortunately, that bad crop has had a long tail and has brought forth quality issues such as high chalk content, comingled varieties, cookability, etc. The United States has likely lost some market share due to these issues.

RESEARCH DESIRABLE VARIETIES
Horizon Ag
The “comingling” issue is tough to deal with. At the heart of the problem, we have too many varieties to handle and no easy, economically viable solution for separation at many commercial operations. This is especially true during harvest time at the drying facilities. In the long run, public and private rice breeders have the most potential to solve a large part of the problem. In the interim, farmers will have to do their due diligence in researching varieties that are desirable to buyers as well as offering themselves competitive returns on investment. They should also keep varieties separate on-farm, if at all possible.

Commercial facilities will have to do whatever they can to separate varieties, if possible, and/or separate pure-line varieties from hybrids. That is a tall order when there are a dozen or more varieties planted.

There is no doubt we are growing a better quality product today. We are also growing a safe product. One of our biggest challenges is to get better at handling our product.

FROM SEED TO SHIPPING
• The 2010 crop brought forth quality issues such as high chalk content, comingled varieties, cookability, etc.
• Commercial facilities will have to separate varieties, if possible, and/or separate pure-line varieties from hybrids.