Tempers flare on the farm

Tempers flare on the farm

We can plan and project to our heart’s desire, but the weather can screw up everything

Anyone who tells me that rain makes grain obviously hasn't been in Greene County, IL, lately. We officially have the rainy blues on our farm. Here is a YouTube video to get a better idea of what we have encountered this spring and summer.

Ethan Cox checks gluten that had 13 inches of rain in June.

We had twelve inches of rain in April and May, and a whopping thirteen in June. Most crops look good, but some replanted corn will at best make half of a yield. The creek has kept us from planting some soybeans. We are only 15% done with hay production, while historically we are 50% done by this time. I've been fielding calls from hay customers trying to locate hay for this winter. I hate turning good customers away, but we haven't baled enough yet to meet our own feed needs. The feedlot cattle consumption is also starting to suffer.

Things could be worse, but it does seem like it is one of those summers where things are not going right. When things go wrong, it is often difficult to maintain a positive work environment. We have been on each other’s nerves, and I don’t see that going away until the weather allows us back into the field.

I have worked in the agriculture industry for almost ten years, and have been farming full-time for three of those years. The weather changed my daily tasks in my roles as a grain buyer and crop insurance rep, but business went on as usual. The paycheck came every two weeks. I always wondered why the weather directly affected my parents' moods, and now I get it. The weather affects our bottom line. Lower production and revenues for hay and field crops coupled with the same costs as last year make a troubling year, and troubling moods. We can plan and project to our heart’s desire, but the weather can screw up everything. As a good friend told me, it’s not precision farming until you can control the weather and markets.

On a positive note, the rainy weather has allowed us to sit down and focus on the business side of farming. The books are up to date, and our marketing plans for crops and cattle are better outlined. Dad and I have also talked extensively with our accountant and consultant on our farm transition plan. I’ll cover our initial transition objectives next week.

How do you handle those times when weather keeps you from real progress? We can just clean the shop so many times. How about you? @mariacoxfarm

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