Some Say It. We Do It.

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June 6, 2014
By Jackson Webb

We farm about 2500 acres down here in the Delta. This year we’re planting 1500 corn and 1000 beans, and we’re in and planted as of now. We’re up to a stand of corn, but the beans just got in the ground. We've been catching a lot of rains, and we buried two planters one weekend not long ago. We’ve been getting these two-day spurts of dry weather a week. When that happens, you just have to go as fast as you can for two days and sit around and wait for another week.

Everybody around here is really frustrated to say the least. It was a sprint to get everything in. Like everyone in the country, we’re used to more of a marathon. But this year it's a sprint. We had frozen grounds this spring, which normally we don't have. We also usually get a week or two in the winter just out of the blue where we can get out there and get some stuff done. We didn't have that this year — we stayed wet and cold all year. And now we're staying wet.

Luckily I am extremely lucky with the labor I have. One guy has been with me since I was 3. His family has been here for two generations, and he came to work here when he was 15. He is like a brother to me, and one of the sharpest guys I've got. He picks up on the technology and can handle any of it — and that’s rare. Even though mother nature hasn't been on our side, it's a relief to know I've got good guys backing me up.

Besides the weather, the other challenge we’re facing this year are prices. With the prices the way they are, I have to operate on a razor-thin margin. Don’t get me wrong — I live a comfortable lifestyle, and no complaints there whatsoever. But this year is not a year to save money. But it's a year to watch what you spend.

In the same breath, I don't think there's anything I'm going to cut back on. There are some projects I would have liked to have done this year, but with $5 corn, they're going to have to wait. I don't see any reason why we can't have as good a crop this year as we had last year, but in my operation I'm going to have to watch what I'm spending and where.

June 6, 2014
By Aaron Paus

I was planning on starting my planting on the 15th of April, but because of the cold, dry conditions I dragged my feet and didn't start until the 21st. In the first three days we weren’t particularly productive, but in the last three days we finally started to hit our stride. Then the weather shut us down again.

A lot of the weather had me questioning my planting rotation this year as far as dryland versus irrigation in certain fields. We were just so desperately dry that I wondered if I had to change my rotation. I waited to plant some dryland until we received rain, and I did go ahead and eventually stick with my original rotation, and we've had rain since then.

One of the first goals that comes to mind is looking at a number of 300 and trying to get that across the whole field. Another goal is to try to get the number while trimming down on our costs — so looking at some more generic stuff, looking at some different sources for getting our micronutrients. And trying not to have any other expenses than what we need to. From the standpoint of having a $7 corn, if you can gain half a bushel on the crop, you hope it worked. With today's economics, we're taking things down and still trying to get what we were at before.

As far as strategy goes, we’re putting a lot of weight to our irrigation management. Some involuntary tests we had last year kind of showed that we were hurting ourselves with thorough irrigation versus what we thought was the right thing to do. We’re on our third year of doing some learning blocks with population and nitrogen, and so we’re trying to get honed into our ideal population and nitrogen rates.

And on a good note, prices now are nearly dollar higher than they were when we did our cash flows over the wintertime. So we're looking at a little bit of extra revenue that we weren't planning on. Hopefully, if we can stick to a budget, we'll have a better year than what we had shown on paper.

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