I’m doing in-line ripping today. We got done with harvest a week ago this morning, and all in all it went very well. Personally, I was still slightly disappointed, but that’s just how I am. I was told to be very happy with what I have, because my corn was probably 30 bushels better than all my neighbors, and my beans were probably about eight. So overall, I’m pleased with the results.
Travis Michl's goals for 2014 seem simple — just raise a decent corn crop. But considering that he replanted three times last season due to torrential rains, or that 1000 acres of his corn crop burned up in 2012, it makes sense. This year, he's getting the upper hand on mother nature.
Travis Michl farms with his father in Southeast Central Illinois. Together they farm 3300 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and hay, and raise 75 head of beef cow and 2400 head of hog. Outside of farming, Travis and his wife stay busy chasing their four young children, a job he says is equal to two full-time jobs.
Travis’s AgVenture counterpart is Matt Bugg of AgVenture D&M. Matt’s attention to detail and knowledge of the region helped them match the right crop to the right soil types. Together, they’re looking to best mother nature in 2014.
We got harvest underway last week, and we’re getting into our corn. We always try to start the day after Labor Day — come hell or high water — which we did this year. We still have a couple hundred acres to go, but our yields are all over the board. Some is really good, some not so good.
We’re right in the middle of planting out here, and so far things are going well. I’ve been working with a new AYS, Colt Halloran, in addition to Mike Davis and Brian Maxwell. Colt and Mike came out to my farm on our third day of planting corn and walked behind the planter, checking seed depth and spacing. They said I was a bit too eager, and the ground was a bit too tacky to plant.
Mother nature ain’t letting us go to the fields, but that’s par for the course at this time. Right now it’s raining and cold at 34°, and everything’s wet and it’s supposed to get down to the 20s the next couple of nights. So we’re staying busy working on equipment in the shop. We’re also getting some seed corn delivered soon, so we’re working at a nice pace.
Even though the Farm Bill deadline has come and gone, it really didn’t have much influence on my planning. I updated my yields, which we haven’t been able to do for a long time, and I took most of the industry professionals and universities’ opinions. The vast majority of economists believe that the ARC-County level was the best option for most individuals. We don’t raise a lot of wheat, so that helped narrow it down some more. We updated some base acres and moved some things around to get a more accurate representation of what we’re doing.
We’ve been staying busy over the winter — we’re taking care of cows and getting them through winter. We have about another 25 days until we start calving, so at that point we’ll have a spring calf herd of 40 head on its way. But mostly we’re hauling grain and fertilizer. We’ve got pretty well everything hauled except for some parent seed. I think we’ve got 20,000 bushels of corn left to move and a few commercial beans, but most of it is parent seed.
Today we’re hauling corn to the ethanol plant. That’s what we’ve been doing all week — running to St. Louis and hauling grain. St. Louis is about 300 miles round trip, and the ethanol plant’s about 40 miles away, but we’ll do 5–6 trips a day over there.
We started shelling corn September 15, which is typical. But it was slow, wet corn. We had some mud last week too, which always brings a new set of logistical nightmares for harvesting. Nice, deep mud. But it's firming back up this week. We're about two-thirds done on corn, and just started cutting beans yesterday, so we're about 7-8% done on that.
We’re just getting our cropping plan started for 2015. We’re not making any major adjustments for next year — no big crop switches. While I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the market, I can’t see any economic reason to be planting corn on corn. So we’re pretty much going to rotate everything out.