From Western Producer:

A farm agronomy advisory company is expanding to include a web-based service that will help farmers market their crops.

Know-Risk Farm Management is designed to take some of the emotion out of marketing.

The service allows users to closely track their costs of production and crop prices and focus their marketing to achieve the best margins.

“The biggest change in philosophy we want to bring to the market is a focus on margin rather than price,” said Remi Schmaltz, manager of corporate development for DynAgra, headquartered in Beiseker, Alta.

Too often farmers’ marketing decisions are unduly influenced by talk on coffee row that is focused on crop price and emotion, he added.

“We want to take that emotion out of decision making,” Schmaltz said.

“Who cares what the price is? It’s about how much money are you going to put in your pocket.”

Remi Schmaltz says his company’s new service focuses on market facts. | D’Arce McMillan photo

Remi Schmaltz says his company’s new service focuses on market facts. | D’Arce McMillan photo

To help do that, Know-Risk tracks exchange-traded crop and fuel prices daily and fertilizer prices weekly.

“Know-Risk brings awareness to where your margin is in the market, based on the current market for fuel, fertilizer and the crop,” he said.

Users can also run what-if scenarios to see what would happen to their income using a range of marketing tools, including more complex combinations of calls and puts. The company is working on getting price information on pulse and special crops.

The application runs on a range of digital tools, including PC, laptop, personal digital assistant and iPad.

“Using an iPad, you could have it in the cab of the tractor while you have the auto steer going and make marketing decisions and understand where you are in the market,” he said.

DynAgra helps customers accurately enter their farm’s information into the program and runs workshops to show customers how to run reports, understand them and make decisions based on them.

There is one-on-one instruction, and the company helps farmers develop hedge plan strategies.

The service also provides market newsletters and other information to help farmers understand what is influencing the market and the direction it will likely take.

DynAgra’s partner in the service is FCStone, a Chicago-based risk management advisory and trading company. It developed the Know-Risk platform for the energy sector in 2000.

“So the platform is proven,” Schmaltz said. “We took that platform and tweaked it for the Western Canada farmer.”

DynAgra charges $825 a month for the service. There is no acreage charge and the contract can be cancelled with one month notice.