Well, we don’t have livestock to keep us tied to the farm, but I’m not sure that matters any more.
Livestock production has always been seen as a never-ending job. You have to take care of them 24/7/365. However, in this era where we are pushing production agriculture to new plateaus, the grain farmer doesn’t get much time off either. There is always a tissue test to be taken, nutrition or herbicide to be applied, irrigation to run, something -- there is always something. I’m just talking about tending to the crop, that doesn’t include things like maintenance, hauling grain, mowing roads, etc.
Recently, I had the opportunity to take a trip with Ava, our oldest, the 15-year-old. Her softball team was traveling to Nashville TN for their big end of season tournament. I’ll be honest, the timing was terrible. We were just starting to dry out after the end of June rains and there was plenty to do at home. However due to other family member’s commitments, I was the only one who could go.
I tried to get everything lined up that I could. We were able to get some aerial plant health applications done before I left. I had some more scheduled for while I was gone (those didn’t happen until I got back because of plane issues). Dad was left at home to do the Y drop fertilizer application by himself in a machine he always said he could run, but had never had to. We will just say the technology is not friendly, and I remember how hard it was to learn to run it when we first got the machine. I know there was more than one day he was ready to quit.
I knew dad would have trouble getting across all the acres, so I booked the co-op to spread dry fertilizer on some fields. Well, (another rain later) by the time they were able to get there, the corn had grown too tall. Since I had also booked some of the taller corn in terrain challenged fields for aerial fertilizer application, they called me to let me know the situation before product was loaded into the spreader. I didn’t want to, but we made the switch and pushed more acres through the plane. It wasn’t cheap, but I think it was the right decision as all the fertilizer was rained in within a day or two. Some of the fields were still too wet to be driven, so dad wouldn’t have been able to do them anyway.
In the end, everyone survived. Ava’s team performed well. It was a good trip.