Red combine harvesting corn

Managing big yields despite labor shortages

Meanwhile we’re halfway through cover crop seeding.

In the first ten days of harvest we have made pretty descent progress. We have only been rained out about a day and a half. I could make the argument that we could use another day and half off to get everything in order again.

Yields have been beating historical averages, but so far harvesting from an early planting window and limited hybrids/varieties, it’s too early to say how the year is going to end. However, I am optimistic.

Last week, we learned that two part-time drivers decided not to come back this fall. One, who usually spread manure for us, went over to another farmer to cut soybeans. (The irony is since we found out, there hasn’t been any bean cutting weather, and he probably could have been doing a little double-dipping and slipped in some time on our tractor seat.) The other, who drove semi, had a knee replacement just three weeks ago.

At this point in time, dropping some acres last winter has reduced stress given this labor predicament we are in.

Cover crop decisions

It seems we always wait until the last minute to decide on cover crops. We have not had good stand establishment when we fly the seed on, so we prefer to spread it and work it in with vertical tillage. The tillage also helps chop and size the residue.

We have seen where farmers have used no till drills or air drills to do the same thing. If we had either of those we would go that route. Anyway, by waiting so long this year it wasn’t easy for our dealer to source seed. Unbeknownst to us grain guys, it wasn’t a good year for small seeds guys. Which has led to a shortage, especially in rye and oats.  Fortunately seed was found and we are about half way through what we have planned for this year.

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

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