Producing quality grain and livestock to the world in a safe and environmentally responsible manner from northeast Iowa.
Harvest is complete and we would like to thank all of the people who helped us over the past year:
•Family: Thank you again for another year of late nights and trips to the farm. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated.
•Don Utley: For hauling whatever was requested and on short notice to keep harvest moving along. I always believe that there are neighbors that you wouldn't want to replace, and you are definitely one of them.
•Shannon Maloy: Having a wagon available at 5 p.m. on Monday evening, just in case we needed it to finish.
•New Hampton Fire Department: Thank you for your prompt action in getting our dryer fire extinguished. We can not thank you enough.
•Meier Electric and Phillips Modern Ag: Thank you for dropping everything and getting our drying system up and going within 8 hours of our fire. Thank you again.
• Ron Lechtenberg and Kyle Burgart: Thanks you for helping to move equipment from one field to the next and to keep harvest moving along.
•Landlords: Thank you for the opportunity to work your ground. We consider it an honor and farm it as if it were our own.
•Consolidated Energy: Thank you for going to great extremes to get the LP that was needed to complete this harvest. (Sending tankers to Kansas for LP)
December 23rd: Christmas vacation has officially started. Now that Trey has some free time on his hands, he is wanting to put a farm game on the website. Please click on the Game section and play Udder Madness. I believe that he will keep looking for other farm related games to put up on the site from time to time. The weather continues to be nasty. The next few days are calling for ice, rain and up to 6" of snow. I think that the grain that we hauled into town this past week may be the end of it for a while. The last week was spent getting seed corn order and fertilizing plans in line. We are planning on having 1,300 acres of corn next year and considering that we are spread out across the county, we need to have a good gameplan going into the spring.
December 8th: We are officially done with harvest. We started the last 230 acre field on Friday afternoon. Thankfully the corn came out with a moisture in the low 20s. This allowed us to just put it in the bin. We had a full day on Saturday and had approximately 140 acres left at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon when I looked at the forecast on my cellphone. It called for a blizzard watch and 6-11 inches of snow forecast. Needless to say, I called Dad and let him know that we would probably be going late. We kept harvesting and then it started to snow about 9 that night. It was cold enough though that the snow went right through the sieves and did not plug up. We kept harvesting until 4 a.m. on Monday morning. The fuel filters started to gel up and we still had 40 acres left. We decided that it was best to stop until noon and finish in the afternoon. I will alway remember the front of the combine as I was running the grain cart. It looked as if there was a major snowstorm from all the snow that was shaken off the stalks as it went into the combine. We did finish on Monday evening at 8 p.m. There was adequate room and the blizzard did come on Tuesday afternoon. There were many producers who went 24-36 hours straight in order to get the harvest in. There were also a good number of producers that did not get all of the corn harvested. Hopefully they will be able to catch a good thaw and be able to harvest before spring.
November 23rd: Harvest Progress: Corn: 50% (USDA 78%), Beans: 99% (USDA 98%). Needless to say, we are a bit discouraged by our progress on the corn harvest. LP availability continues to be an issue. Many smaller operators have finished, but the larger operations continue to use the majority of the LP. Since we were unable to get LP to continue to dry, we have been busy hauling dry corn to town and making sure we are ready and have room to dry when we do get LP. Meanwhile, Roger has been doing fall tillage work. He should be able to catch up to the combine shortly. This week was rather special because Trey had his first band concert. He does an excellent job of practicing and many times we need to tell him that he has practiced enough. The fifth grade band has over 90 kids. The program is really strong and they sounded very good for only practicing together since late August. Thanksgiving is coming up this week and even though we are not finished, we plan to take this day off and reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. This is a wonderful country that provides wonderful opportunities for individuals that are willing to work for them.
November 16th: Harvest Progress: Corn: 45% (USDA 59%), Beans: 99% (USDA 96%). We have officially recovered from the grain dryer fire earlier this week. We now have our cooling bin full and waiting for grain trucks to haul the dry grain away before we can continue to harvesting and drying what is out in the field. The grain that is dry was to have been picked up by the Coop, but I am unable to get trucks until Friday. I have been able to get a neighbor and another truck company to haul a couple of loads each day. The grain is starting to dry down from the mid to lower 30's to the upper 20's/low 30's. This is good because I just recieved a call from our fuel provider letting us know that they are out of LP for at least a couple of days. The combination of three weeks of good field work weather, high moisture corn and excellent yields has just about tapped out the LP gas lines. The fuel companies are having transports that are having to wait 12-15 hours in line for LP. We are being rationed, but have been given priority for our hog buildings to keep the hogs warm. Needless to say this will slow harvest a bit. The problem might be solved if we were able to get a period of wet weather that would get everyone out of the fields. But after October, I would just as soon wait my turn for LP. We emptied out the majority of the Chickasaw site this past week with 3 semi loads on Wednesday and 4 semi loads on Thursday (1,250 head total). We now are working to powerwash these buildings and do repairs to prepare for the 2,000 head of weaner (10 lb baby pigs) that will be arriving on November 30th. There are events that really make me appreciate what we have and the opportunities that are given to us. Yesterday morning, I was pulling up to the combine to fuel it up for the next couple of days, when I noticed what appeared to be a white plastic bag on top of the hopper of the combine. As I approached it flew away and I thought that it was probably a seagull. Then it landed in the field a couple hundred feet away and proceeded to turn it neck completely around and look at me. At that time, I realized that it was an Snow Owl. I have seen a lot of different types of nature, but this was the first time I have seen one of these.
The photo is not that close, but I do have proof.
November 12th: This is an mid-week update due to the fact that we had a grain dryer fire last night. The dryer shut down automatically last night at 11. Roger went out to check and saw an orange glow behind the control box. The corn has had quite a bit of fines and bees wing (small red fluff) this year. The fan pulls these items into the dryer and it builds up right where the fire started. If the dryer would have been at our Bassett site there would have been nothing left. The New Hampton fire department was called and after cutting 4 feet of the 16 feet in the dryer, they were able to put it out. The damage to the dryer was minimal in the fact that it only got to a small part of the electrical wires. We ended up patching the holes on the 4 columns that were cut and we were drying corn again by 4 p.m.
Attached is a slide show of the damage that was caused:
November 8th: 23% (34%) harvested on corn, 99% (83%) harvested on beans, 55% overall. State of Iowa in ( ). The weather has finally turned. This past week only saw a small shower go through on Tuesday afternoon. This weather allowed us to make good progress on the beans. We started Sunday afternoon combining 18% soybeans and putting them in a bin to put air on them to bring them down to 13%. By today, the last load that was taken to the elevator was 11.7% (dryer than the standard 13%. We were able to combine 405 acres this past week. This is a result of some long days and being able to keep the combine moving. The beans have been doing very well with the earlier planted beans yielding in the low 50's. The late planted beans only did the low 40's due to a dry September and lighter ground where these were planted. We still have 7 acres to combine on one farm where the field is low lying and due to the recent wet weather will need to see a freeze before we can get these out. Our focus now turns to the balance of the corn crop. The moisture has not come down much even with the 70 degree days that we have had the over the weekend. The highlight of the week had to be bringing a couple of coworkers out to see harvest. One is from Florida and was in town for a meeting and the other had never been in a combine. We allowed Megan to finish combining the field (with a little help from my dad).
November 1st: 23% (12%) harvested on corn, 25% (47%) harvested on beans, 24% overall. State of Iowa in ( ). I am glad to say goodbye to October. The past month has been nothing short of frustrating. We had a total of 3 days which it was fit to combine beans. The rest of the month was cool, overcast and wet. To give you an example, our Charles City farm recieved close to 10" during the month. Since the last update, we were able to take out our West Leonard farm. The 10,000 bushel wet bin was filled on Tuesday evening and the dryer did not shut down until Friday at 9 a.m. Then we still had the wet corn cone to sweep auger out before putting additional grain in the bin. The corn in the area has been seeing some light mold that is on the kernel of the corn. As it goes through the combine, cart, augers to and out of the wet bin and dryer, the mold appears to be coming off. We have been in contact with our seed companies and they have tested the mold and it is just a peniccilin type mold and poses no threat. Just another thing to think about (light test weight 51lbs, 30% moisture and now mold. Thursday, October 29th saw close to 3" of rain come through. Just what we needed. They are calling for a break in the weather for the coming week. Today we continued to have Deb and Trey work the sweep auger and keep the dryer going. Roger and I went to our Alta Vista farm to see if we could finish the beans on this farm. The beans were able to go, but the moisture was at 17% which is a bit more than the grain elevator will accept (15%). We will put them in our cooling bin at Bassett and run air on them in an attemp to get them down to the standard 13% moisture. The yields on the beans continue to be fairly good with a 51 bushel average. The manure haulers have started to empty the manure pits at the Chickasaw site. I spoke with a landlord who farms in central Illinois. They farm a couple thousand acres and only have 300 acres of beans and 50 acres of corn out. I believe that it is going to be a long harvest regardless of where you are in the corn belt. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
October 20th: I am glad to report that HARVEST has officially started. We harvest 80 acres of corn last week in order to have a place to haul manure as the pits at Chickasaw Farms were getting full. The corn was yielding well at 180+ bu/ac, but very wet at 30%+. After a brief rain out on Friday, October 16th, we decided to switch to beans on Sunday, October 18th. The first beans were 15.7% but dried down to under 14% rather quickly. The initial thoughts on the beans were that they were only running in the low 30's for yields, but the monitor was not calibrated correctly for beans and they were running closer to 50 bushels per acre. After the best weather that we have seen all fall on Monday and Tuesday, it started to rain on Tuesday evening again. They are calling for up to 2" of rain by Friday. This would not be very welcome. We were able to get just over 100 acres of beans done before the rains started. Later this week we will start loading market hogs our of our Chickasaw Farms site. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
October 11th: For the most part, this week was a complete bust for field work. It has rained on and off for a two days and then would clear up just enough to think about combining and then would rain again. This past week was spent preparing equipment for the fall. I believe that we have everything completely gone over, all lights working, equipment waxed and ready to go. There were some producers looking to go and combine beans this afternoon, but the beans were coming out at 15.5%, so we have made the decision to wait and we will look to combine some corn if this bad weather continues. Instead of worrying about the weather and the amount of work that we will need to get done, Trey and I went with a friend to the Iowa - Michigan game this weekend. The game was awesome and it was Trey's first time to Kinnick. The game was a night game and we did not get back home until 1 a.m. The most important thing was that we won 30-28. Trey's First Iowa Game GO HAWKS!!
October 3rd: Yes, I know. For those of you who stop by from time to time to see what is happening, I as very sorry that I have not updated the webpage for a while. I will be placing previous weeks posts into the history page. Please feel free to view what has happened since the last update. I wish that I could give you an update on harvest, but the weather lately has just not be cooperating with us to start harvest started. Last week there was a couple of days that may have been fit to combine some early beans. We choose to not start as the field that would be ready was 20 miles away and it started to rain on the end of the second day. Everything is ready to go once the weather clears up. The corn continues to stand still and not mature as fast as I would like due to the cool weather that we have had all season long. The few operators that I have spoken with that have taken out some corn have reported that the moisture continues to be over 30% (the corn needs to be dried down to 15%) and test weights of 49 to 52 lbs (56 lbs is average). This reduces the total yield due to a crop that is not as dense. The weather for the upcoming week appears to be turning colder with a possibility for a freeze this upcoming weekend. Now for the most interesting part of the week. Leasa and I attended my 20th high school class reunion this evening. We had close to half of my 130 classmates attend. Many of them came from opposite ends of the country. I always enjoy getting together with them and seeing how their lives are changing. It is hard to believe that 20 years has flown by. I was only stumped by a couple of classmates. Earlier in the day, Trey's football team played a New Hampton team and beat them 12-0. This team had a couple of players whose parents were classmates of mine. This made for some interesting conversation at the reunion.
August 16th: We finished loading out the Bassett site. I also signed up a couple of farms for the ACRE program. Many producers have decided not to sign up for this program as it appears that we may be having a large crop that will not allow a payment to be made. I signed up a couple of farms just to be sure I understand how the program works. This will help me explain this to my crop insurance customers. We received 2.8” of rain on Thursday, August 13th. This should pretty well provide us with all of the moisture that we need to complete the crop. The crop continues to lag behind the normal maturity due to the cooler July and early August. August 9th: We spent the last week in Cedar Falls at Korean KAMP (Korean Adoption Means Pride). This is a family camp that the entire family participates. We stayed in a camper that a co-worker allowed us to use. The camp is run by many parents who have adopted children internationally and focus on Korean culture during the week and international culture from other countries on the weekend. We have attended this KAMP for 5 years and really enjoy it. The weather was rather imposing. A couple of nights there were big storms that went through and really caused some nice light shows. On Sunday, we were just finishing cleaning the grounds up and were just about to let the staff head home, when the tornado sirens went off. After spending an hour in the basement of the Tabernacle, we were able to get on the road. While we were in the basement, we heard that Eldora had hail that was softball size and basically destroyed the town. A couple from KAMP were driving home and came home to a home that had a destroyed roof, siding, windows and carpet from the storm. Needless to say a great amount of crops were destroyed. August 1st: This week was spent traveling for work. Rabo held a national sales meeting in Orlando. I drove up to Minneapolis on Wednesday and returned on Saturday. The resort was nice, but I did miss the kids. We started to get ready for Korean KAMP next week. The kids are looking forward to getting together with their friends. The corn appears to finally have tasseled completely. The last couple of weeks we have been working at forming up an approach to our new machine shed at Bassett. This has involved moving quite a bit of dirt from the south side of the hog building and moving it to the front of the shed.
July 26rd: Natalie learned to ride her bike this week. Since we live at the top of a steep hill, Natalie had no desire to learn how to ride her bike due to a bad experience going down the hill when she was in Kindergarten. Now in second grade, she still has not learned how to ride it. We gave her a hard time about going to Korean Camp later this summer and having to run behind her friends bikes. This was all it took. We took her down to the bike trail and she figured it out in no time. We scouted out beans and determined that spraying our bean for aphids was warranted. The summer continues to be very cool with us still waiting for some of the corn to tassel.
July 16th: Rock picking is officially finished. We finished picking rocks at Schluetters. There were plenty of rocks on this field as all of the tilling brought many of the smaller rocks to the surface. It was a lot of effort, but worth it to clean up the field. Roger and I went to the consignment auction in Milford, Illinois this week. We left Wednesday at noon with trailer in tow. Going out we averaged 14 miles per gallon. On Thursday, we did get a 693 corn head purchased. So pulling the trailer out was not a wasted exercise. Coming home you could tell that we were definitely pulling a load. We only averaged 7.5 miles per gallon. The crops all the way out looked excellent. We were not able to meet up with a friend from southern Illinois that I met at a seminar earlier this year. His comment was that the crops south of I-74 is much worse. On Friday, Trey, Natalie and I helped move pigs from the new Chickasaw building to the old. We started 2000 head of weaner pigs in the new building and now needed to move 600 head into the old building. The crop condition report showed that 79% of the Iowa crop as good to excellent and 71% nationwide versus 72% last week and 64% last year. The soybean crop condition report showed that 77% of the Iowa crop as good to excellent and 66% nationwide versus 66% last week and 59% last year. I am a bit concerned over the process of the corn crop. The weather the last week has been extremely cold with the high on Friday of only 60 degrees. The forecast for the coming week only calls for temps to remain 10 to 15 degrees below normal. I have seen a couple of tassels in the Leonard field that was planted in mid-April. Overall the crop continues to look good.
July 10th: Last night we had a very close call with hail. Our southern farms did have some hail damage which we called in a hail insurance claim. Hail also caused significant damage along the Ionia blacktop just east of the Wapsie River to just west of New Hampton. Many bean fields were a complete loss. Thankfully, the hail passed right between our Leonard farm and the Airport farm.
July 7th: We spent the 4th of July in Clear Lake with the Branstads. Our adoption group has a get together every year. We watched the parade in the morning, spent the afternoon at their house, took a couple of hay rides around town, listened to some good music and watched the fireworks at the Surf Ballroom that night. It was a long ride home but definitely worth it. This week we worked at installing some waterways that did not take last year due to all of the rain. Roger and Deb took a trip out to Ohio to see Roger’s cousin. I took care of the pigs on the weekend. They reported that the crops looked very good, but were maybe a couple of weeks behind. The stopped out to look at an upcoming consignment sale in Milford, IL. There were many John Deere 693 cornheads that are on the sale. I believe that we will be making a trip out to this sale next week. The markets have definitely reacted negatively to the report showing additional corn acres. The market has dropped $.60 per bushel since before the report and $1.30 from the earlier June highs. Now that we are below the spring price of $4.04 on the crop insurance side, we will need to have a better crop in order to meet our spring revenue guarantee. There is some talk that as prices drop it may be beneficial to sign up for the ACRE program (government counter cyclical program). Based on the information that I can gather, I have yet to run a scenario where it makes sense.
June 30th: Nothing exciting this week except continued to pick rock. We also went over to one of our landlord’s acreage and mowed the tall grass along her driveway. This was right along the edge of the field and she could not get with her lawn mower. She is going to be having a large party on the 4th and likes to have her place look really nice. Bruce, Leasa, Trey, Natalie and Grandpa picked rocks on Saturday at her property. Once we finished, Bruce and Leasa took the tractor to Alta Vista and Grandpa and the kids picked mulberries. Grandma made then made a mulberry pie in the afternoon. It was a fun day. The June 30th acreage report came out today. Needless to say government found an additional 3 million acres of corn that was planted this spring at 85 million acres. This coupled with the excellent crop conditions will probably extinguish any hope for a rally in the corn market. We currently continue to have puts bought to protect our downside. We also have crop insurance that provides so many dollars of revenue protection. If the price keeps going down, we will need just that many more bushels in order to meet the guaranteed revenue. I feel we are in a fairly good spot for the 2009 crop, it may be time to begin looking at the 2010 crop. Rainfall for the month of June: Rogers: 3.25” Emma: 3.2” Bassett: 2.3” Alta Vista: 3.35” Schluetter: 3.4” Nargang: 2.9” On June 18 we had some corn bend and some wind damage. Just 4 miles to the east they had tennis sized hail in May that completely wiped out the crop. Wixom: 1.6” The rainfall on our southern farms was a bit light for the month. Overall the crop continues to look very good. The damage on the Nargang farm was minimal.
June 20th: This week we were able to get the last of the nitrogen sidedressed on the Bassett farm. We have continued to pick up rocks on the different farms and now have all the corn acres gone over. Trey and I have started our summer project. A TREE HOUSE. We have a nice tree in the back of our lot that is split in a “V”. Trey has been measuring and cutting and once the base of the frame is up, he even screwed down the floor boards. He wants to have electricity in the house, but I believe that the county building inspector, who happens to be our neighbor, may have something to say about that.
June 13th: This weekend we attended my niece’s wedding in West Union. The ceremony was in Elgin and the reception was held in West Union. The kids had a good time dancing and eating chocolate milk and milk shakes. Since my brother, Brian, is a dairy farmer, we had this at the reception. Anything we can do to help dairy prices will definitely be appreciated. We completed applying nitrogen on all but the Carroll farm. This farm will have a one-pass spray application. The sprayer should be here next week and we will apply the nitrogen after they spray. We did receive a nice rain earlier in the week and spent the down time spraying fence rows and cutting trees out of fencelines. We have also started to pick rocks. This appears to be a never ending job. The grain market has started to drop off this week after a good run up due to concerns about delayed planting in Illinois and Indiana. The initial crop condition report came out this week with 81% of the corn in Iowa good to excellent. I would have to agree with the report. We have positioned ourselves with owning come put options and having some higher call options sold.
June 7th: We finished planting bean at the Schluetter farm on June 3rd. The tiller finished the job and we were able to plant beans the next day. It is truly amazing how fast the ground dries out when tile is installed. We also started to side dress nitrogen on the corn. This weekend saw us participate in the Cedar Valley Cup soccer tournament. Both Trey and Natalie participated in this tournament. We ended up watching 8 soccer games this weekend. Saturday turned out to be a cold day that was the opposite of what was forecast and Sunday was to be rainy, but turned out to be sunny. Needless to say I ended up with a bright red sunburn.
May 31st: This week was another week that was pretty much washed out due to rain. On Friday, Leasa and I celebrated 16 wonderful years of marriage. I look back at all of the wonderful times that we have had together and realize just how blessed my life has been. Saturday, Grandpa and Grandma Lantzky came down to watch Natalie and Trey play their soccer games. The games were in Waverly (Natalie) and Grundy Center (Trey), which made for a full day. Today, I finished planting the last of the corn at Carrolls and switched over the planter to plant the final 140 acres of beans. The tiler is going to finish tilling the Schluetter farm by Tuesday of next week. Hopefully we will be able to finishing planting next week. The following is a listing of the rainfall totals for the month of May at the various farms: Rogers: 4.55” Emma: 9.15” Bassett: 5.5” Alta Vista: 7.4” Schluetter: 7.2” Nargang: 2.35” last half of May (no rain gauge first half of month) Wixom: 5.4” Overall the month of May saw a good amount of precipitation. The crops that are up are looking very good.
May 25th: I planted a total of 175 acres on the Carroll farm today. This is a huge day for a 12 row planter. I started at 7 a.m. and was rained out at 10 p.m. Hopefully I will be able to complete the corn planting soon.
May 17th: This week was spent with a trip to St. Louis for crop insurance meetings. Not the best time to be away from the farm, but I still do have a fulltime responsibility to my crop insurance customers to provide them the best service possible. While I was gone, the tiler completed the tiling job on the Carroll farm. The manure hauler showed up on May 10th to complete hauling out the Bassett site pit. Now once it dries out, we should be able to complete planting the corn. We currently have everything planted with the exception of the 240 acres of the Carroll farm and 140 acres of the Schluetter farm. Hopefully the tiler for the Schluetter farm will be there shortly.
May 8th: Spring has finally come. Along with the warmer weather, we have been on the wet side lately. We currently have a bit over 50% of our corn crop in the ground and are waiting on a tile contractor and manure hauler to complete the remaining 350 acres. We may switch over to beans if it dries out.
May 3rd: This week was basically a wet week with no field work being completed. We finally did get back into the field this Sunday. The balance of the week was spent clearing the tree stumps. We also decided that we to install additional tile on the Schluetter farm. Since this is going to be soybeans, we will have time to install this yet this spring. In order to install the tile a larger portion of the farm and provide an opportunity to have the crops benefit from this tiled ground, I paid for a portion of this tile project and will reduce the rent on this ground for the coming years.
April 26th: This week saw us begin to plant corn. We planted 80 acres southeast of New Hampton and then went to the Nargang farm Northeast of New Hampton. We have about 180 acres of corn before it started to rain. I utilized my web access on the cell phone in order to see where the approaching storm was located. Once the storm started, we received a total of 5” of rain in two separate storms. Needless to say we will be out of the field for a few days. I met with a contractor this week to lay out a 50’ x 80’ machine shed at the Bassett site. After having to blow off snow from the harvesting equipment last fall, it was decided that we needed to construct another machine shed. This will allow us to keep all of our equipment inside.
April 19th: We have continued to work at clearing the ground at the Schluetter farm. We did have some excitement on Friday. Dad was burning stumps and limbs from the ground that we were clearing. Earlier in the day I decided to go to the Alta Vista farm and chisel down some of the tile lines. Fortunately it was not working well and I decided to come back to the Schluetter farm and help clear brush. The Skid Loader developed a leak in a hydraulic hose and we were just about to go to town to fix it when we looked over our shoulder and noticed that the fire had got out into the neighboring County Conservation Preserve. Needless to say 4 volunteer fire departments responded and we ended up chiseling out some fire and Roger was on the other side of the fire with the rented backhoe trying to snuff out the fire until the fire department arrived. 10 charred acres later, the fire was out. The grass should grow real well on burned areas. Who says life is boring. On the hog side, we continue to load out of the Chickasaw Farm site. I continue to work with customers on the crop insurance side to gather the 2008 production history.
April 8, 2009: Much to celebrate this morning, the bond referendum has passed. Yesterday the Waverly-Shell Rock School district held a special election to vote on levying $18mm to construct a new 5-8 grade facility. As some of you may know, the current 5-6 building was destroyed by floods this past June. The community turn was huge yesterday with 3,100 voters (over 33% of registered voters) and approved the levy by a 65% approval rate. The new building will begin construction this fall and should be ready in the fall of 2011. Just in time for Trey to start 7th grade in a new facility. On the farm side, we are moving a new batch of pigs into the Bassett site and loading out market hogs at the Chickasaw site. We are still a couple of weeks out on the tiler to arrive and complete a fairly good size job on the Carroll farm. Once this is complete, the manure haulers will arrive and complete the job they were not able to complete last fall due to the ground freezing up. We did recieve 5" of snow on Palm Sunday in Waverly, but fortunately the storm missed the ground in Chickasaw county. It still has left the ground cold and not much in the way of field work is being done. We are currently working at cleaning out a fenceline on one of our leased farms. I believe that we may have added an extra 30' on the edge of the field. The next week looks to be pretty well clear from a weather event. This should allow us to start field work this next week. I would say that planting is still at least a couple of weeks off though.
March 2009: Many of you may wonder why I am only posting once a month. There is actually a couple of reasons for this. With the Sales Closing Date for crop insurance being March 15th, my time is very limited this time of year to make weekly updates. The second reason being, there just in not much that is happening on a weekly update. No crops are in the ground to provide update and no fieldwork is being completed. Once we get into the growing season, I hope that these updates will be more frequent. This month we finished selling out of the Bassett site. Josh and Roger are working at washing out this site for the next group which should come in the first week of April. At the end of this month, Leasa and I took a trip to Florida to see a couple of St. Louis Cardinal spring training games. We flew into Ft. Myers on Thursday and drove to Jupiter. We spent the day on Friday at the beach. The Atlantic Ocean is much rougher in my opinion than the Gulf. On Saturday we attended the game in Jupiter and got to meet Tony and Adam Wainwright at a meet and greet after the game. On Sunday, we drove back to Ft. Myers and caught a Cardinal game vs. the Twins before flying home. We had to set through a 2 hour rain delay, but we had seats that were 3 rows from the Cardinals batting circle (It was cool!!).
February 2009: The cold weather continues to persist. Although not as much as last month. Great news this month. My brother Brandon is now a father. Cylus Eric came into the world on February 2nd. This makes grandchild #8 for Roger and Deb. This month has been nothing but crop insurance sales for Bruce. The main difference this year is many producers changing from Optional Units (where each field is insured seperately) to Enterprise Units (where the entire crop is insured as one measurement in the county). With lower commodity prices and the saving in premium, this is an advantageous way to insure your crop as many producers are looking at having a guaranteed number of bushels regardless if it comes from one field or the other. The spring prices for crop insurance were set during this month. Corn was set at $4.04 and Soybeans were set at $8.80. The farm has seen us keeping the hogs in good health and working on some equipment for upcoming spring work. We did complete the paper work for the revenue loss on our crop insurance claim although at the end of the month we still did not recieve our check from the insurance company.
January 2009: Needless to say the past month has been extremely long, cold and snowy. This month has seen the tempature plunge to -30 (that is 30 below zero). We only saw two days with tempatures above freezing (one of those days was January 31st). So much for a January thaw. Not much has happened on the farm with the exception of trying to keep animals warm in the finishing buildings. We have been using quite a bit more LP than planned, but we need to keep the animals warm and healthy. Roger has been able to haul the balance of the 2008 corn crop to town. This will allow us to complete the revenue claim for the 2008 corn crop. The shear number of crop insurance claims thoughout the upper midwest has really put a crunch on the crop insurance adjusters that are trying to get the claims completed as quickly as possible. I believe that 90% of all policies have some type of revenue claim that needs to be completed. The grain futures market has really taken a hit the past month. The January stock & use report showed a much larger than anticipated carryout due to a reduced demand of feed and ethanol usage. We currently have an agressive Put - Call spread strategy in place for a good portion of the 2009 corn and soybeans that we look to produce. We are currently working with the local contractor to arrange for a tilling project on the Carroll farm this spring. We saw a dramatic increase in the grain yields where the land was tiled. The other major project that we are currenly in progress of it the remodelling of our upstairs bathroom. This is currently close to be complete.