February 12, 2016
I know it’s been a while since I posted a new blog from the farm. Let’s face it, when I’m in the office most of the time, it seems like a pretty boring story to share. It’s much more fun for farmers to talk and share pictures about planting and harvesting! So… I asked Ashley to get some pictures of what’s going on around the farm right now. I found out that most of the guys are still working! Now I’ve come up with so much to share that I had to split it into two separate posts.
Dad, Ashley, and I spend most of our days in the office. Dean usually spends a portion of his day in the office and spends part of his time organizing outside activities. The primary office activity has been to finish up the financial year from 2015 and project 2016 as we prepare our bank package. We use an operating loan from the State Bank of Lizton each year, so we give them a pretty extensive package of financial background. This year has been particularly tough. 2015 was a rough year for central Indiana,with low yields from the excessive rain and low prices from plentiful worldwide production. The biggest challenge we face right now is there is not a good reason to project any higher commodity prices in the near future. There is a tremendous amount of grain available around the world right now, and our dollar is strong, which hurts our ability to compete for export markets. We are hunkered down in survival mode.
Tony keeps the shop work going this time of year. They are just finishing up the maintenance on the last combine. Combines are so expensive that taking the time to properly maintain them always pays off. It may be surprising to know that we have been working on these three machines (with some interruptions) since harvest and are just now finishing them up. Every bearing, belt, chain, and auger is inspected and replaced if needed. The great thing about this is that we have confidence when we start harvesting next fall that the combines are not going to let us down. We are anxious to get the planters in next. Our John Deere soybean planter is getting a major rebuild that will take a couple of weeks. One of our Case IH corn planters is being updated with new row-unit technology that will improve our plant spacing. That one should take a week or so as well. This is the time of year we start to count-down to planting time. Hard to believe, but we should be ready to plant in about 7 weeks.
Trucking is always a big winter-time activity. At the end of harvest this year, we had about 520 semi loads of corn, soybeans, and popcorn stored in our bins. We have amylose corn and waxy corn that are both delivered to Ingredion in Indianapolis. Ingredion schedules the loads to meet their needs for processing, so we take several loads a week, but will deliver corn to them into the summer months. The popcorn is grown for Pop Weaver and it can be delivered to Van Buren Indiana, Valparaiso Indiana, or Forrest City Illinois. Again, Weaver tells us when to deliver that corn and where…we still have over 50 loads to go sometime. The seed beans are delivered to Pioneer at Tipton. We raise seven different varieties and they call for them as they are processing that particular variety in the plant. We are about halfway done delivering seed beans. Most of them will be delivered before planting because after all, that’s what those beans are raised for! Jeff Jones is our number one trucker dude. Brian, Parker, Trent, Guy, and even Dean and I get involved when the weeks are busy.
Thanks for taking the time to read our update. Part 2 will be coming shortly!