Rude awakening

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The alarm clock did not wake us up this morning.  It was the loud, rolling, rumbling peals of thunder.  We got .69″ (18mm) of rain yesterday morning, and we are adding to it today.  The rainy spring of 2019 is unprecedented.  We are grateful to have about half the crop planted, but we are also eager to get the rest of it completed!  The delay concerns us because of the reduced potential yield of corn and soybeans as the delay drags on.  Also, we remember one of dad’s old sayings:  “You need a cool, dry May for a good wheat crop.”  Well, we’ve not had that kind of May.  Seems like dad’s old sayings come up frequently around here.

Heavy rainfall this morning causes a stream of runoff across the farm lot in front of the shop.

We will take this latest delay and begin to investigate the options that are driven by it.  Do we exchange our seed corn for a ‘shorter season’ type of corn?  Do we substitute soybeans for corn?  Do we take “prevented plant” from crop insurance?  Today, we certainly have more questions than answers, but a thorough study is becoming necessary.  I think we will have a couple days at least to have those discussions with appropriate professionals, and to make the calculations.

In other farm news, Ross is quite pleased with the performance of the new CIH 2150, 24-row corn planter.  It is more sophisticated than the previous model 1250, with the addition of the Delta Force automated down-pressure system on each row.  The entire machine is much heavier than the previous planter.  Therefore, he discovered a problem with the set-up.  He needed more power to pull this planter up our hilly fields.  Our CIH Magnum MX290 just does not have enough ‘ooomph’.  It is very frustrating for a farmer to be under-powered for your task.   So, we set about this week to find an upgrade, and yesterday we finalized our choice.  We have traded the MX290 for a CIH STX420 Rowtrac.  This should provide us enough power climb our steepest slope with this new planter.

Here is Ross with the new-to-us CIH STX420 Rowtrac. It will take some getting used to tracks instead of wheels, but we are eager to see what this will do. We expect delivery late today.

This will be our first experience with a track tractor.  We have had tracks on our grain cart for a number of years, but last fall we had a very expensive track failure on that cart.  That made us a bit hesitant to spend the extra $ to get a tractor with tracks.  But, we asked neighbors who already own track tractors, and learned quite a bit about about how to maintain and manage it.  This tractor will also pull the grain cart at harvest, and the extra power will be helpful there.  And the tracks should “ride” better across rough fields.

So, as another rainy week drags on, we ask you to remember and pray for all the farmers across the nation who are affected by the rain delay.  Of all the corn belt, Indiana and Ohio seem to be hit the hardest this year.  There are many wonderful things about life in this I-state, but this spring, it has brought special challenges.

Philippians 4:6-7



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