The online grain trading service offers a platform where buyers and sellers of feed grains, pulses, oilseeds and forage products can post information on either the items they have or what they are seeking to purchase. In a move to expand the services being offered, the company has launched a third-party grain testing service website.
Having details on a feed crop like moisture level, mycotoxin presence or protein content is important to farmers looking to sell feed ingredients or grains, said Brennan Turner, CEO and president of FarmLead.
The additional service was launched this week. Testing grain to gain information on quality plays a role in being able to sell the product.
“Knowing the quality upfront increased my marketability of the grain,” he told FeedNavigator.
E-trade in grain and company history
FarmLead was developed to offer an improved grain marketing and selling system, said Turner. It also was intended to help farmers get a better price for their grains or feed ingredients.
“No farmer was really marketing their grain, they’d wait for a bid to show up that they might be interested in or set a target,” said Turner. “We are allowing the farmer to go on the offensive for the first time ever.”
“Our platform allows the farmer to showcase the grain they want to sell,” said Turner. “Grain buyers can post bids anonymously and ultimately the buyer and seller can engage with each other eliminating the telephone tag process – we’ve recreated the phone call system in a digital [medium].”
The common practice involved in grain selling can be complicated and challenging requiring numerous phone calls or accepting prices established by someone else, he said. However, while working with to market grain raised on his farm, Turner said, he found more success offering information on the grain available and the price range of interest.
“If we had this sort of success, why can’t we offer it to every farmer?” he said of what prompted him to start developing FarmLead. The company launched three years ago and recently raised $6.5m in a series A financing round.
The system accepts any type of feed or food grain, forage crop, pulses and oilseeds, he said. It also allows for any size of producer or grain sale.
Since the company started it has had almost 6,000 farms in the US and Canada join and it has about 1,500 buyers, he said.
‘Know your grain’ testing site details
The free grain testing site, GrainTests.com, now being offered by FarmLead works in a manner similar to an online travel planning site. Grain producers are able to search for labs available in a particular region of the US or Canada or by the test of interest, select the lab, check test prices and book the desired analysis at any time of day – regardless of laboratory hours.
Results from the tests booked are returned electronically, the company said. Testing labs taking part in the system include BioVision, Cotecna, Intertek, NDGI, NQI, SGS and 20/20 Seed Labs.
Being able to provide details of the grain’s condition and quality gives a farmer more control of the sales process, said Turner. “Know your grain – get that grain tested,” he added
“We think that by partnering with [grain analysis labs] we can help more farmers,” he said. “They charge the same fees they usually would – but we make it more efficient to manage the testing process.”
Tests can be ordered for multiple locations or from multiple labs, he said. Grain buyers also have the ability to order a test through the site and have the producer submit a sample.
“At the end of the day, we want to help the farmer be better at selling their grain,” he said. “That’s why we figured this was the easiest way to help them.”
Typically, the process has been to take grain to an elevator, have them test the grain or send the grain to be tested and then get the results back, he said. However, that information may be missing some elements that are useful in the grain marketplace.