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ominous storm clouds over rural shed Mindy Ward

Twiddling our thumbs

Unfavorable weather puts harvest in low gear

Lately, we have been doing more sitting than running. We went through the first half of harvest pretty quickly. Since then, it’s been difficult to get more than a couple days strung together. Currently, we sit somewhere between 65% and 75% done. By this time last year, we had finished harvest.

Corn basis at delivery points has also fallen off dramatically. Since last week, they have taken a dime. This tells me that we’re not the only ones out of the fields. More guys are hauling corn. This was confirmed Wednesday when the ethanol plant was full by 1 p.m. Looking ahead, there are still some good opportunities out there (as far as basis), some of them are even outpacing the non-GMO premium! Those guys are going to have to sharpen the pencil if they want to cover needs through next summer.

We didn’t have an opportunity to get much cover crop planted this fall. We did one field of oats (seed left from last year we were tired of looking at), several fields of wheat (we didn’t want to pay the price for rye), and we are experimenting with one small field of tritacle (small because tritacle is pretty pricey). I still have mixed feeling about the results from cover crop, but in general, I agree with the principles behind using them. It makes sense. Everything we planted is up and growing.

We’ve been able to keep up with tillage pretty well. Bob comes whenever we call him and he is content to drive up and down the field all day long. I’ve owned an inline ripper for 3 or 4 years. This year is the first time we’ve been able to run the deep tillage, low disturbance tool. We used it for about 500 acres before another farmer responded to my for sale ad in the farm paper. He came, bought it, and took it home with him. I guess if we really like the result, we’ll be back in the market for one in the future. I do like the idea of using the ripper as to not disturb the soil surface and being able to get back on the ground later and do additional work such as drainage, fertilizer, or herbicide. This is where I targeted use this fall. Personally, I think we need to be turning/mixing the soil more often. We’re in the market for a value priced large disc chisel. Pulling the old 15 shank JD714 chisel with 500+ hp is a bit overkill.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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