When sugarcane producer Ted Broussard started planted soybeans on his fallow sugarcane ground 12 years ago, he wasn’t expecting the crop to turn much of a profit. Instead, he was looking to improve soil tilth for his plant cane, not much more.

But $16 soybeans have changed that approach, although sugarcane remains Broussard’s main focus.

Broussard farms 3,280 acres of sugarcane and soybeans with his son, Quaid, and his nephew John, in St. Mary Parish in Louisiana. About 600 acres to 800 acres of that are usually planted to soybeans, on what typically is fallow land following the plowing out of older cane.

“When we originally started planting beans, my goal was not to make money at it. My goal was to do it at no cost to me, plus get the benefit of mellowing that land,” Broussard said. “But the price of beans kept going up, and we started making a little money. We started putting money back into grain equipment, and now we need to make money at it.”

Sugarcane equipment – if you can’t buy it, build it

The latest addition to the farming operation is a 22,000-bushel grain bin, built because the local elevator will not be receiving grain this year due to upgrades in the facility by the new operator, Louis Dreyfus.

“Other elevators are going to be inundated with tons of trucks,” Broussard said. “We’re cane farmers, and we’re not rigged up to move a lot of grain. When I’m cutting beans, I need to be right behind that operation, planting cane. I have to move it quickly. I can’t wait for trucks to come and go. The new bins should hold the majority of our 600 acres. We can haul it off when it’s convenient to us.”

The bins will also allow Broussard to cut soybeans at a little higher moisture. “We struggle with moisture down here, big time. There are so many days that you are so close to the right moisture but if you haul it, you get docked. The bins will allow us to take the beans out a little early, dry them down and get them out of the way so that we can plant our cane.”