Decisions, decisions…

Saturday, August 16, 2014

We met Thursday morning with our Pioneer seed salesman David Flint, and the Pioneer agronomist, Tony Halter.  We reviewed many things, but mostly our plan for wheat for 2015.  We have decided that any wheat we plant for 2015 will be Pioneer brand.  We experimented with two other wheats in 2014, and clearly the Pioneer was better for us.  Next week, we will be visiting Pioneer corn/soybean plots with David to evaluate their offerings and to see how/if those varieties fit into our planting plans for 2015.

We are strongly considering planting zero wheat for next year.  The market conditions are not favorable… the futures price is currently below our per-bushel cost of production, but a rally during the winter could bring the price up to our cost level.  There was some difficulty in 2014 with the wheat deliveries to the market.  There was a new quality measure factor, called vomitoxin, that affected a small portion of the loads we delivered.  Those loads in which this was discovered had a significant discount to the price. So, will vomitoxin be a factor in 2015?  Too early to tell.

We are a little under the gun for this decision, for the seed price is firm only through the end of August.  This, along with our other cost considerations will be weighed with agronomic reasons for wheat planting (provides a type of cover crop and offers a different culture in the crop rotation).  This mix of information will provide us with the ingredients in our decision.  Not having a wheat crop to harvest in June is strange territory for us, but not unfamiliar.  We planted no wheat in the fall of 2009, making for a different kind of summer in 2010.  Maybe 2015 will be similar to that.

In other news, we will be going to a very special birthday party this evening.  Granddaughter Ella Marie Carnahan turned 2 yesterday, and John and Ashley are having her party today.  There will be a bouncey-house at the party, but I don’t think the grandparents are going to participate in that.  We did help with the preparations of the decorations (a Peppa Pig theme) and the food.  This should be a really fun time.

It has been quite cool for most of the days of August.  In fact, nights in the low 50s have been common, along with daytime highs in the 70s.  We think this will delay fall harvest a week to 10 days.  It has often felt like September, not August.  Rain has been abundant this summer, but so far not too much.  Rain is strongly predicted tomorrow and about a 50-50 chance for most days next week.  The year 2014 holds my 39th crop as a farmer, but each year of experience is unique…this one seems to be different in many ways too.



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