Here we are on the eve of a new year. For the grain farmer it is a new beginning as well. Harvest has long been complete. Equipment is put away for the winter. We have have had a bit of a respite from long hours and manual labor. Soon it will all start over again.
Field plans are being made. Practices are scrutinized. Seed selections are booked. Crop protection products have been priced and ordered. Market analysis continues as do intermittent sales for this and next year's crop. Our life currently consists of a stack of papers and a pile of seed books gathered around us. We keep the internet handy to look up plot yield data and chemical labels. Our phones alert us of the the grain market on the open, at midday, and at the close. This is the most important time of the year that we have control over.
Grease and cuts on our hands will soon tell when we return to shop work. We have a list of machinery repairs and upkeep that are necessary for the upcoming spring to go smoothly. There won't be many new additions or purchases in 2015. We will have to make due. Hauling grain will become a daily activity.
The optimism of a farmer says 2015 looks better today than it did two months ago. Fuel and energy prices are at nearly decade old lows. We wait patiently for this to translate into fertilizer prices. Grain prices have rebounded from harvest lows. However they appear tightly bound in a range with little upside potential at this time. Exports have been good and the gluttony of crops from this fall is being worked through. The new year will bring the farmer another chance to be successful. No two years are ever the same; that is a good thing. New opportunities will come and be accompanied with new challenges. The farmer's life is ever changing, never boring.