“The only tool I carry is a pocket knife,” says Ted Salsbery. “The market is where you make your money, not tightening bolts. If you are the best agronomist but sell for the cheapest price, you’ve wasted your time.”
The Sharpsville, IN, grower focuses on marketing and delegates crop production to his son-in-law, Stuart Rounds.
This past year was Salsbery’s best year ever, in 45 years of growing corn and soybeans. But it took more than great weather to make that happen. He hires the best agronomist and invests in proven new technologies.
“You really need to know about everything going on in the world and why the markets are doing what they’re doing,” he says. “Understand why things are happening and develop your own opinions; most people listen to too much stuff.
“I have three analysts I follow, but I try to understand why things are happening so that I can make timely marketing decisions on the rare occasion when they’re opportune. If the market moves in a certain direction, figure out a very solid reason why. Think for yourself.”
He sells big chunks at a time for cash, at times waiting more than a year or two for the right opportunity, but shops the basis. This approach paid off especially well in 2008 when he gothis highest price ever for a season’s worth of beans. “There is always a time to make good money in most every year,” he says.
“Earlier this year I was looking at the best yields and best prices in probably 10 years,” Salsbery says. “There was no time to waste. Be aware of what’s going on, do the best job you possibly can producing the best crop, stay up with the times and technology, have the best genetics and figure out how you can cut corners but still do the best job.”
Salsbery delegates the agronomy and precision technology to a sharp young agronomist and technology whiz, Justin Welch, Alexandria, IN. “He makes sure we are using the latest technology and the best genetics. “He’s been a huge asset.
“Besides doing the right thing, you have to get the timing right,” Salsbery says. “In the whole year, there’s a best day or two that are the best time to plant followed by quite a few that are not good days to be farming. It pays to have the best and fastest equipment to get the crop in during ideal conditions. When you look at aerial images, you can see the ground planted during the two best days.”