August 2, 2012
Yesterday, Mike Grant of Channel 10 TV in Terre Haute came by the farm to help prepare his report on the effects of the drought on southwest Indiana farms and farmers.
Today, Jake Gingerich from Montgomery Welding is here with a couple boom trucks to lift the new skyway into place over bins 10 and 10A. After it’s fastened into its position, there will still be lots of work to connect the downspouts that feed it, and the spouting that directs the grain into the bins.
Brandon is out mowing roadsides, making those fields look ‘cared for’.
Little by little, we are inching our way towards harvest. The combines and trucks are ready, the new dryer is set up–with a newer and more reliable and robust electric power supply, and the bins are coming into shape with Jake’s work over the next several days. The new conveyor will need electrical connections made by Russell Lashley very soon.
I have developed an excel sheet over the past several days to show us how crop insurance claims will kick in at various levels of corn and soybean yields. For example in corn, I took the information from our crop insurance agent: the yield rating for each ‘unit’, along with their price guarantee, and then created a chart that gives the dollars that will be provided in a claim for each unit… and this is at many different yield levels: zero, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120 bushels per acre. If the corn makes over about 120 bushels, there will be no claim on most units. We don’t expect a zero yield anywhere, but we do not expect anything above about 70 or 80 either. If any unit hits 100 bpa, we will be surprised. So, this document really helps us prepare, not only mentally, but in knowing with more certainty how the crop plus the crop insurance claims will effect the cash flow for 2013. I think our banker appreciates it too! One thing this exercise has verified is that when the crop yields increase, even though the crop insurance claims decrease, the cash flow improves.
This is another way that the computer helps our management of the farm. We did not fully realize in 1984, when we bought our first Apple II+ computer, just how powerful a tool it would become. Besides the accounting software, I began with a first-generation spreadsheet program called “Visicalc”. Do you remember Visicalc? Over the years, we adopted Excel, and now we are using the latest iteration of that software. There are many farm uses for that program, and the quick-and-easy calculations it makes. We use it to document our cropping plans, cash flows, budgets that compare the profitability of one crop compared to the next, and countless other applications. Internal documents like the one developed this week for the crop insurance claims, give us the kinds of information we need to stay on top of the management of the farm.