Farmers around the country wrap up fall field work, reflect on the 2023 growing season, and prepare their businesses for the new year.
Kelly Garrett – Arion, Iowa
Kelly Garrett is a fifth-generation farmer in western Iowa. Garrett farms 4,000 acres of corn, over 1,800 acres of soybeans, and 170 acres of winter wheat.
These past couple of weeks have been filled with thankfulness. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I am thankful for many things, but I am especially thankful for the trucking business and the people who help run it. My employees for the trucking business are South African H2A workers and I am blessed to have them. They go above and beyond with their work. They face a lot of problems back home in their country, so they come to the United States to work and provide a better life for their families back home. Hearing their stories and working so closely with them has made me appreciate what I have. They have integrity, honesty, and work ethic. I cannot say enough good things about them.
Along with the trucking business, we have been wrapping up fall work around the farm. We just finished spraying plant food and are in the process of moving corn out of the grain bins. We are currently waiting on some basis improvement before we move more corn to sell. We are also doing some tax planning and making decisions for next year’s seed and fertility. We are continuing to go over our XtremeAg trials to see if any products will make it into our grower standard practice next year. XtremeAg will be having an end of year webinar on December 14 to discuss all of the farmer’s trials and what they think worked best.
Kevin Matthews – East Bend, North Carolina
Kevin Matthews and his wife, Cindy, are fourth-generation farmers in East Bend and Yadkinville, North Carolina. Matthews Family Farms, Deep Creek Grain, and Precision Nutrient Management farm corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley.
With harvest complete the work has not stopped. We’ve stayed busy cleaning up field borders, ditches, and cleaning up equipment. Every field border is maintained to prevent overgrowth and limbs hitting equipment. Ditches have to be able to drain and over time sediment will fill in areas causing poor drainage. It is critical to maintain. In the event of a flood, it allows the water to recede faster.
All equipment is brought in the shop to be cleaned up and detailed. This allows time to create a list of everything that will need replacing/updating for the next year. We have found this to be a key component of creating our next crop year budget. There is always going to be an unexpected expense but we have an unexpected expense line item build into our budget from the beginning. Having an itemized list allows us to communicate with our dealer and lender upcoming needs. Within the next month we will be fine tuning our budgets to know how many acres of corn and soybeans will be planted for 2024.
Lee Lubbers – Gregory, South Dakota
Lee Lubbers is a fourth-generation farmer in Gregory, South Dakota. Lubbers Farms includes more than 17,000 acres of dryland soybeans, corn, and wheat. Lubbers says he is always trying to learn and challenge himself.
We are currently spreading a blend of potash, sulfur, and boron on some cornstalks going to soybeans. We are comparing a blend we created vs. putting it in furrow in the spring and planting with our air seeders. It is our second year of creating this blend on multiple fields to see how well it pays.
With the holiday season, we usually make a quick trip to the state capital in Pierre and tour all the trees they have. We always make sure we go all the way to the top floor and the girls get to see the senate chamber. We talk about how our government works and how they can be involved in the process. Being a dad, I try to incorporate a civics lesson into the trip. Just another way of encouraging them to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be.
We tried seeing the northern lights. They are not a common occurrence here but, once the girls heard about it, I was asked every half hour about checking it out. I told them the full moon and clouds showing up later may not help the chances, but they were up for the adventure. We saddled up with snacks and drinks. I made sure blankets and pillows were part of the provisions too. We drove up to a ridge north of town where we farm. A place where you can see for 20 miles with no lights around. They were excited and thought of it like a camping trip. The girls said they’d take a nap, and I could keep lookout, funny how that works.
I watched on a Facebook group with thousands of members and read the reports. The full moon and the clouds moving in were doing us all no favors. Later during the night, still no reports of it building in the north. So we headed home and I carried them into bed. When they woke up in the morning, they were a little bummed out, but not giving up. They said we’re doing it again next time.
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