Farmer Iron

Maximizing that Capacity

The late harvest shows just how much work we can do at harvest.

There's always talk about "machinery capacity" and what that means for the farm. You have to figure on having the equipment you need for a worst-case year (or at least access to extra equipment) or else your key "payday" could be missed. We were down in Iowa at the home farm this past weekend for a visit, and everyone was pushing full out. Whether it was my wife's cousin on their operation or my nephew finishing up that last corn, it was a time we usually see in October.

For many a hiccup in harvest can really eat up your time. Add int a late crop of corn that refuses to dry down and you know the propane is pumping faster than a marathon runners heart. Yet you get it done. Whether it was the field where two cousins - driving competing combine brands - finished up the corn harvest (yes a yellow and a green combine were seen working the same field); or the late night lights of tractors getting as much fall tillage done as possible, the work went on.

Or our friends up near Fargo, the Fossums, who finally finished soybean harvest thanks to the help of frost so they could get back out with the combine and get the crop in without all that mud. We're all happy when the job is finished.

This will be a year when Thanksgiving is going to mean something to a lot of people. Whether it's survival of the spring floods in the
Midwest, or the continuous rains from hurricanes Ike and Gustav that pelted not only the Gulf but even into the upper Midwest. Pulling in a healthy harvest and getting that grain in the bin is a job well done. And you're getting it done.

When the dust settles, and up north after the snow starts flying, you'll think back on what you accomplished. Perhaps it'll be a time to rethink combine size or the tractors you use to get work done. Whether you'll make changes depends on your comfort level with today's market - and how input prices are going to hit you in 2009.


We do have a lot for which we can be thankful. Whether it was the surprising yield in a field that saw plenty of "weather" or the fact that you actually finished by Thursday, you'll be saying a good prayer at dinner Thursday. And give yourself a pat on the back. We're all thankful you're out there bringing in the crop every year.

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