2019 Crop Wrap Up

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I hear lots of farmers saying “2019,” and they sigh, “It is what it is. And it needs to be over.”  Yep.

For me, it was December 15th, 2018 when the guy ran into me and totaled my car, and from there it was the leg infection and the rain and now the kidney stone and this year just needs to be over and I’m going to start fresh on December 16th 2019! With Jury duty!  A whole new experience!

I was big on having ‘Experience Adventures’ when I was younger. I quit using that term at some point, but I’m still up for an adventure or experience and they keep coming. Attitude is everything. 

Got the soybeans out. Yield was terrible. Mostly just the weather caused that. No one had great yields, but some were OK. I had that one field that was short. The one I said made me sick to my stomach every time I looked at it. That entire field yielded 89 bushels. Well heck. That was a 10 acre field. Should have done 45 bushels each ACRE! Should have had half a semi load from there! Should have had 450 Bushels! I had some fields here at home that ran 40 – 50 bushels / acre. Don’t know what was up with that one field. Planted same day, same variety of bean. Too wet, too many deer eating the tops off, too cool… it is what it is.

Overall, my beans averaged 28 bushels / acre which is about half of what they should have done. Crop insurance will kick in and cover some of the yield loss. At least they got combined before they got snowed on. Price was on the lower side. But test weight was good and soybeans are almost always dry enough that they don’t need to be dried so all that was good.

Corn was done last week. I knew the yield looked good. Which is pretty amazing considering again, it was planted late, it was cool, it rained, it had windstorms, and then it froze early. It averaged 167 bushels / acre. Above average for me. It doesn’t make any sense considering everything done wrong, but it is what it is. With the raccoons pulling stalks down and wasting the corn, deer knocking them down and eating the corn, and turkeys pulling up young plants, it’s a wonder any survives. Every night you’d see deer out there eating. And as I rode in the combine and he finished the last field, we chased 6 raccoons out of the last rows.

And it was wet, but we knew that. The combine was saying 25% moisture. Delivered corn to the elevator (where it really matters) and the loads were between 24% and 28% moisture. It has to be dried to 15% to store it and that cost me $0.50 / bushel to dry it down. Cost a few thousand dollars for drying. Price wasn’t great to start with. It is what it is. A good year, better soils, less deer, it’s not unusual to average 200+ bushels / acre on some farms in some places. The “Pie-in-the-sky” goal is 300. Takes lots of management to make that happen.

My dad, before hybrid seeds, got 50 bu/Acre so he’d be impressed with the 167.

Crop insurance may kick some in as a price insurance coverage. (because I can buy “revenue” insurance too. NOTE: In fact, the agent was here. No payment on corn because even though price was low, the yield was good. They always get ya).

It froze before I could get any fall fieldwork done. I thought maybe with the warmer weather the last few days maybe it would go; I hooked the chiselplow up and ran out and tried and no. Three inches of frost yet and I should have known but I would be mad at myself if I didn’t try.  2019 – It is what it is.

I’m wondering if the warmer weather the last few days might have helped take the frost out? But it rained too and it’s too muddy to try. Oh well. It is what it is. Next year will be better.

I got some cool pictures of the combine at night.

In the end we didn’t make as much money as we do some years. But I’ve been saying we’ll be OK. And we will; We won’t go broke.

The difference between me and the really big farmers is a matter of a few more zero’s on our checks AND bills.

I asked Craig, who was combining my corn, how much they had left to do. He grunted. “A lot” he said. Later on I asked again. About 900 acres he figured. Yikes.

And of course, the propane shortage we had wasn’t helping but I think that’s passed. Even the coop elevator was shut down because their natural gas was turned off. No one had ever heard of that before. Forty years, no one has heard of that. Craig said they use 1500 gallons of LP / day to dry. One day they got 500 gallons. So they just have to wait.

One guy I watch on YouTube (Mn Millennial Farmer) has a huge, multi-thousand gallon tank and contracts his LP for the year. Yep, he has a contract, he just can’t get it delivered either. He wanted a semi-full, got ½ a load.

I’ve heard it was Illinois’ fault. They usually are a month ahead of us combining corn and they don’t usually need to dry it. And it’s not usually this cold this time of year. It is what it is.

Next year will be better!   Right??

97 thoughts on “2019 Crop Wrap Up”

    1. Sorry, I’m late to the discussion. It has been a busy day here. I’ve jammed my comment in near the top of the comment section because so many of these comments are sad. I’d like to offset that.

      Understanding that everything is relative, and I’m passing through a difficult period, I believe I’m having one of the best years of my life.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Hang in there, Ben. That which does not kill us . . .

    Faint words, sure, but I and untold millions have extreme admiration and respect for all farmers. I am extremely grateful for the food I’m able to put on the table and it’s all thanks to you and your cohorts who do a job few would be able to do or would want to do.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

        1. if you ever hear a farmer not bitching about the weather and the rain and the low crop production he is in the front seat of his new pickup truck after making way too much money for the year.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m glad you’re starting the new year on the 15th, Ben. Yikes, “The difference between me and the really big farmers is a matter of a few more zero’s on our checks AND bills.” It boggles my mind, how much there is to think about. And then to have wild cards like the propane shortage… Uffda.

    I have nothing like what you’ve been through this year, but it does feel like it’s been one big responsibility after another, and it will be nice to have the two week break at Christmas from some of our duties.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this post, Ben. It will make me extra mindful on Thursday that I have much to be thankful for. I love that you’re not letting the set-backs over which you have little or no control get you down. I get the sense that you’re blessed with a naturally resilient spirit.

    I’d like to share a link to an article about Fred Rogers, written by a long-time friend of his. It gives an extraordinary insight into what a profoundly decent, moral and creative man he was:

    .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you posted this link. I find Mr. Rogers very relevant to Ben’s question – next year will be better, right? It’s a beacon of hope to me that the young people that are entering adulthood and voting and working for change in our society are kids who grew up in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I think they are more inclined to be thoughtful, open-minded, and considerate of others’ feelings than many of my generation. I am counting on them to turn out to vote in 2020.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Tomorrow is sort of like New Year’s, at least in the church, as it is Christ the King Sunday, and the end of the liturgical year. Advent starts next week. If I were a good Norwegian-American homemaker I would have all the lefse done by tomorrow. That frees you up for the rest of the Christmas baking, you see. I didn’t make lefse last year, but I might when we are back from New York. Maybe that will make for a better year?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. In answer to your question, Ben, I’m not sure. This has been a tough year in so many ways, no doubt about that. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced that next year will be any better. As you say, it is what it is, and our ability to adjust to what is, makes all the difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. RIse and Shine, Baboons,

    Who knows what next year will bring? I am thinking I will get out my Tarot cards and ask. I am sure they will tell me that it is Illinois’ fault that 2019 was so difficult, because it almost always is Illinois’ fault.

    We had many losses this year of family and friends—one Baboon is on that list. Given my age, I don’t think that will change in the future because losses become more likely as we age.

    I plan to just tune in to my gratitude list to cope, at least on most days:

    1. My dogs are great and make me happy
    2. My knee surgery and rehab went as well as it could have gone
    3. I have a warm winter period in AZ to anticipate
    4. I am making cherry pie from my own cherries for Thanksgiving and it will be good
    5. My brother is hosting the meal and he is leaving the giblets out of the bread stuffing, for which I am very grateful
    6. My sister will make the tapioca fruit salad from Grandma’s old recipe and we will have that for breakfast Friday morning….

    You get the idea. This gratitude list is heavily food oriented, but that is kinda the way it is with me.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I found the written recipe, which I started ignoring many years ago.

        Holiday Tapioca
        (Grandma would make a double or triple batch on holidays to serve about 50 people)

        1 box large pearl Tapioca—soak in 2 c. Water overnight
        1 can pineapple tidbits
        2 c. Red or green grapes, halved
        1-2 c walnuts, chopped
        2-3 c. Apples, chopped (I cover in lemon juice to limit browning)
        2-3 sliced bananas
        1 can mandarin oranges, drained

        Cook Tampico according to box directions. Mix in pineapple (juice and all) and put on the porch to cool. Shortly before the meal ship 1 c. Heavy whipping cream. Add vanilla and sugar to taste. Mix in all fruits, except bananas, nuts, and cream and stir well. Add bananas and mix in gently.

        Serves many. Is a great breakfast the day after a holiday.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I forgot to say that this seems to be a very old recipe that my grandma and her mother made after fruits were available in markets off season. Some of their recipes are old pioneer recipes. I think this one derived from an old pioneer recipe that was used before fresh fruit was available, then adapted.

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      1. Absolutely! Arizona is interesting when you look at people moving there. This week I saw a statistic saying that 700 people a day move there. I swear that half of them are from Illinois. And the folks moving from Illinois are unhappy with life there—weather like ours, of course, but corruption, crime, poor education, and on and on. So having heard some of those stories, I latched on to Illinois as our scapegoat.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Well, I am boiling potatoes. I don’t have to go to work Monday morning, so I decided to make the lefse dough today and roll it out tomorrow. Let’s start the new year in the right way-exhausted and covered in flour!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Is there any other way.

      Last night I made my first ever, from scratch Mac & Cheese using your recipe. I augmented it a little with a handful of Gruyère, onion, garlic and a dash of secret sauce. It was delicious. We really liked the tomatoes on top. Husband loved it, and had two helpings. Don’t know if that had anything to with the fact that I had to take him to the ER this morning with chest pain and an erratic heart beat. They’re keeping him overnight for observation. Guess I’ll be having the leftovers by myself tonight.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Be sure you let us know how he is.

        I will try to round up the written recipe for the fruit salad—it is the old dash of this, alittle of that as demonstrated by Grandma.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I visited him this afternoon, and he’s in good spirits. When I asked him if he thought the Mac & Cheese had anything to do with his heart episode, he laughed and said no. I told him that just to be on the safe side, I had better eat the leftovers myself tonight. He pleaded with me to leave some for him.

          They’ve run all kinds of tests during the day today, and he’s scheduled for a stress test in the morning. We’re assuming that he’ll be released tomorrow, time will tell.

          Liked by 3 people

        1. I never doubted it, nor that it was in the right place. Sure he’s a royal pain in the butt sometimes, but who among us isn’t?

          Spoke with him this morning. He’s not a happy camper. His roommate, a very sweet 94 year old man, snores – loudly – and what with Hans’ innate need to be in control of things, he couldn’t sleep. By 4:30 this morning he had himself so worked up that he summoned a nurse to unhook him from various monitors, he was,as he put it, out of there. The nurse gave him some anti-anxiety meds and managed to calm him down. At this moment he’s feeling sorry for himself because he can’t have breakfast before his stress test.

          I tried to cheer him up a little and reassured him that he could have something to eat after the test. I also told him to be glad that today is Sunday, he can rest when he gets home, hopefully later today. And, if need be, he can take Monday off too. That’s sort of a little joke between us; we’re both retired, and a bad night’s sleep is easily remedies with naps whenever we need them. He’ll be just fine I’m sure, he just needs to get a grip on himself. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Hospitals are anxiety producing places, and husband has very little experience with them. He has spent a grand total of five nights, including last night, in the hospital during his entire life. And, those five days have all been within the last five years.

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        3. when i was in last week my roomie was a guy who was nice enough but with all the drugs in him when he entered the room they gave him a hanging bag of meds to be added to his body as he pushed the button. every 15 minutes he could add more.
          he was so out of it that he kept moaning and theyd ask if hed hit the button. he had no idea what they were talking about.
          he was talking with his son about the vikings and the gophers so i told him the wolves and the wild were on if he cared and he said no he only like the vikings and the gophers then he turned up his tv real loud and that was the end of our conversation. he had back surgery down low i had it up high. up high is easy down low is not. i got out next day he was in for a week. i left and suggested they not inflict that guy on anyone else he needed to go in a lost soul corner of the hospital . i got not one wink of sleep and got out of there at 830 am. they told me they couldnt get me out by 9 so i told them they had me til 4 if they couldnt get me out by 9 by golly out i went.
          i am caught up on my sleep but it took a week with work and drugs getting in the way.
          my heart does a similar thing to hans and they discovered it 40 years ago and just told me to carry a little thing in my phone records in case i went in the hospital in china or europe or something i could show them it was the regular deal and not get open heart surgery because they thought it was something. even with my new heart stuff i think i still have a little hitch in my getalong

          Liked by 4 people

        4. Hospital room mates are tough. Back in May when I was in, the first guy was sick to his stomach for the first few hours, but got out the next day. Then the next guy Just didn’t talk at all. So at least he was quiet.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. When we visited Oslo and the Volksmuseum there, we learned that each province in Norway has its own unique lease recipe. They also bake it on a large stone—think like a pizza stone—in an open fireplace. It was interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A sign for hopefulness for the coming year-Husband noticed some lovely, fall blooming crocus in the raspberry bed. This is after we had -24 windchill and snow a couple of weeks ago. Amazing!

    Liked by 5 people

  9. hey ben
    i’ve seen software the tells you almost by plant which needs moisture and fertilizer added to maximize growth top of the hill vs bottom of the hill
    would that be helpful or can you eyeball it and do pretty much the same?

    i’ve has a dream of planting hops. 25 ‘ telephone pole installed is part of the deal but return is very strong. 2 years down the road . if we could figure out how to do an indoor structure ( grant money is available ) we could do 2 or 3 crops a year and the end of the year numbers are strong
    interested in discussing?
    hops are big in oregon but minnesota is proving to be a great place for them and with all the microbreweries an excellent market for selling local

    i can look into desired varieties and how to order them from germany or wherever

    Liked by 2 people

    1. tim, that’s called ‘prescription farming’ and the only thing holding me back is money and the equipment to do it. I just took a survey for John Deere on ‘Precision Ag’.
      The auto-steer on the tractor, combine, and sprayer are all linked together into the ‘grid sampling’ system. So at harvest, the combine can detect and plot which areas of the field have the best yield. Combine that with the soil sample maps showing what parts of the field need which nutrients and then in the spring, the fertilizer rig or planter, can adjust fertilizer needs to those areas and adjust rate as needed. And the sprayer can adjust it’s rate to only spray the areas with the most needed weed control. And the auto-steer helps with tillage so you’re not overlapping too much which saves time and money in the long run. (given enough acres).
      None of my tractors are new enough to have built in computers and auto-steer. There are lots of ‘add on’ units. And I’d need the extra GPS thingy on all the units and iPads and of course the subscription to the GPS server thingy they all talk too.
      MN Millenial Farmer talks about his stuff on some the videos.
      So it’s a lot of money and I don’t have the acres to justify it.

      Like

      1. In that first paragraph, Ben, you refer to “prescription farming” and “precision ag,” are they two different things or is one of them a typo?

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        1. As I understand it, Prescription farming Is the process of tailoring inputs to the specific crop by the acre.
          Precision Ag is the general term of all this automation and can include prescription farming.

          Like the web and the internet. 😂😂
          To reference other nonsense I’ve written.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. i have seen a version where the micro management of the field is done with mini drip irrigation where the fertilizer and water is distributed on an as needed basis.
        i first heard about it being done in isreal 30 years ago farming in the desert with water being introduced every 15 minutes instead of every 12 hours and in ounces instead of minutes of running the area

        Liked by 1 person

      1. the telephone pole is the thing to run the horizontal wires across then just tie a string to the horizontal wire to have the hops climb up.
        i see it done ideally in a a building with a 30′ ceiling where the vines are raise and lowered after the harvest. lights on and off and temperature control .

        Like

    1. Not sure I’m tracking here. Are you saying the above video with the goofy lady in the center singing Jingle Bells isn’t the video you intended?

      Like

  10. Apparently there’s an app called We Croak. I gather from the name that it’s designed to give you snippets of wisdom to help you through your daily struggles. This one seems useful: “Your strategy for living in the present will go a lot better when you accept how frequently the present sucks. Daron Larson”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Got two of three fields done, stopped to look things over and realized a big main piece was falling off. A large bracket had broken. Got it home, ordered parts online and hopefully get it fixed tomorrow and finish doing fieldwork before the snow storm. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. OT but funny, I think. In church today we sang the hymn “Crown Him Lord Of All” and one of the verses has .”the Angels prostrate fall” but that wasn’t what everyone sang.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Woot! Hans has been sprung from the hospital and is now happily puttering around the house. He has a unique heart beat, not arrhythmia, just an uneven beat, unique to him. He’ll be fitted with a heart monitor tomorrow that he’ll wear for 48 hours to be sure they have a good readout of what his heart is up to. For now they don’t see any signs of blockage or anything else alarming. Phew!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad to hear he is back home. Lou has something similar. It is very episodic and his blood pressure drops with it. The Dr.’s attitude was pretty laisse faire. Just wait to see what happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I rolled and fried 38 sheets of lefse tonight in less than an hour. Two griddles, no waiting. I fret needlessly, as I usually fry 3 times that amount. The larger amount left me with enough lefse for a year or more. Who needs that much lefse? I have enough with what we have now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The lefse I make is soft, sweet, and pliable. I don’t know what part of Norway this recipe comes from. My DNA is supposedly 15 % Norwegian, which is pretty odd for me to think about.

      Liked by 2 people

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