Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waiting and waiting

Not a lot to write about this week. We did get all of our corn seed delivered.

Planter is ready to go but calendar and 10 day forecast both tell me to chill out for the next couple week at least. Some early birds have gotten out and worked some end rows or put down Anhydrous on some drier fields, but usually not much happens around here before April 1. After that is will be crazy as always. Personally I am trying to get a bit ahead on my day job work so that when fieldwork time comes I can minimize planting interruptions, that always makes me a bit nervous around planting and harvesting time.

Next week I will probably get the disk out ready to close some gulleys if it gets dry. Not much shop work remaining.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I thought spring was coming

Last week really got the juices flowing. I think I put about 60 hours work in the shop over a 4 day period. Now everyting is almost ready to go, and the cold had me back inside in front of the computer for a couple days.

Grain markets moved up nicely this week as I sold 25% of what was left from last years corn. Hoping that sparks a rally for the rest of it, if past history hold my sales usually do.

This next week I plan to purchase the fuel we will use for this year, a little over 1,000 gallons. It is nice to see it so much cheaper than last year, and it reminds me of one of the benefits of being no-till. I would hate to be buying two or three times as much.

I am starting to see more seed being delivered around the country-so while it may not feel like it we all know that less than a month from now there will be tractors rolling in Central, Il.

I am down in St. Louis for a couple days and saw some ground had been worked today.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Feelings of Spring

They say in the spring a young man’s heart turns to thoughts of love. The warm weather this weekend had this farmers heart turn to thoughts of planting.

It is really little too early to think of planting in our area but a couple days in the 60s and 70s has one thinking. Crop insurance won’t cover any corn planted before April 6, and the fields are still well soaked. I have a date of April 13th in my head to start planting, let’s see if the weather cooperates. The warm weather allowed the girls and I to get out on the 4 wheeler and had a lot of fun scouting the new farm this past week. Given how much bean stubble we had last year (beans erode much easier than corn) I would say that both farms are in very good shape. A few minor eroded spots will be need to be worked closed before planting but nothing major.

I took advantage of the warm weather this weekend and the driveway received a much needed layer of gravel and I borrowed a neighbors scraper to get it really nice and smooth. The planter rebuild project from the winter was wrapped up sooner than expected so I finished putting a new boom on the sprayer as that was problematic last year. And found some time to put a new interior in the lower part of the planter tractor. Hopefully that will quiet it down enough so I don’t have to have the radio blaring to hear it.

Crop insurance deadline for sign up is March 16, I had my appointment last week. Having only been farming 5 years this I am starting to realize how good the last few years have been. I had an older famer once tell me that in every 10 years you will lose money two times, make a lot of money two times, and make a little the other six. This is the first year where my insurance will not cover the cost of production-so in that aspect it is a little scary. The main reason is the high price of fertilizer and seed that I purchased last fall, it sure would have been a lot cheaper had I waited until spring. Grain markets are starting to go up a little the last couple days, and hopefully are finally separating from the downward spiral of the stock market, it that trend continues I know a lot of farmers will be breathing easier and have a lot more fun putting in a crop for which there is a positive payout.

I know in a month things are going to get really busy-so in the next couple weeks I am going to really try to spend some extra time with the Julie and the kids.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Small Grain Farm Blog
This is the first entry in the Butler Farm 2009 Blog. This blog will follow our corn and soybean farm operation throughout the year. We will detail what is being done each week, post pictures when helpful, and generally try to keep those interested in the issues involved in running a small midwest grain farm.

Just the facts:
Approximately 400 acres
No till operation-more on this at a later time
2009 crops will be 290 acres of corn and 110 acres of beans

About the farmers:
Paul & Julia Butler
Years Farming: 2009 will be 5th crop

Biggest Issues Concerning us for 2009:
Crop Prices and Input Costs
Legislation that could negatively impact Agriculture

Still being relatively new to farming we have a lot to learn, but will use this weekly blog to share some of the issues encountered the last few years as we compare this year as it progresses.