My non-farming father-in-law texted me with two questions last week, so I thought I’d share them and offer some inside scoop on what happens here in farm country.
Q: Why are there so many grain trucks on the road right now?
A: Most farmers are done planting so they now have time to haul grain again. Prices are still good, so guys want to work on making sales and emptying their bins.
This coming week, we will join all those trucks my father-in-law keeps seeing on the road and return to hauling grain. The guys who drive semi for us have been off for about a month as we have been preoccupied with other activities. But they are definitely getting restless. We hauled a lot of grain early, so there isn’t much left to do. The grain bins are getting down to nearly empty. Fortunately, the kids are out of school now. I think we will find out if a scoop shovel still fits in their hands!
Q: I’ve seen a couple fields being drained (ditched) after the crop was planted. Why in the world would somebody do that?
A: Sometimes the farmer is just better off to plant the field when it is fit. You never know when or if a drainage contractor will show up.
Several times I have had drainage done in a standing crop. Sometimes, it has been the only time the target areas are dry enough to get through. Other times it was the only time I could get someone to come and do the job.
I don’t prefer to tear up crop, especially with the grain prices we’ve got now. However, the long-term return from better-drained crops is a fast payback. This early in the year, losses can be mitigated by replanting.
I can think of a couple of jobs where I wish we had done more, but couldn’t stomach tearing up more crop. Putting in drainage after wheat is cut is also a common practice, and that may be an option for us going forward. We will have to see if wheat stays in the rotation after this year.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.