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December 2010 Archive for U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

RSS By: U.S. Farm Report, US Farm Report

Comments, questions, opinions...this is your chance to speak out regarding anything and everything reported on U.S. Farm Report. Viewer feedback updated regularly.

A Beautiful Barn

Dec 27, 2010

 

   This 104 year old bank barn located in Shelby County, Ohio (near Botkins) is owned by Alvin & Diane Berning.  The picture was taken Christmas morning...the farm has been in the Berning Family since 1951.
 

Christ mass 2010 016

Ultimate Farm Quest - More Details Please...

Dec 22, 2010

   I watch U.S. Farm Report on channel 45 in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. I moved away from the farm when I was a teenager, but I watch the report regularly. A few years ago, I became more involved in controlling my retirement funds through stocks and commodities. It's astounding to me how farm commodities are more and more following the rules of the stock market (which are hardly rules at all!). 

   I typically enjoy watching your program a lot. I was disappointed, though, on how few examples were given by the men who had the advisors working with them in the 'Ultimate Farm Quest'. There seemed to be only 2 things to take away: get advisors and maybe thermal imaging might help your land assessment. Surely pressing the interviewees for a few more specific examples (small though they might be) would have been a little more helpful. 

   It's hard for me to believe farmers would be motivated to get advice because of the example of a single technical process that they may or may not have interest in using themselves. I know you want to get the most from your money on projects like the 'the Ultimate Farm Quest'.

I'm definitely continuing to watch.
Respectfully,
Tom Lingbloom
 

***Editor's Note:  Based on numerous feedback just like this, we've asked our Ultimate Farm Quest participants to outline specific examples of what they learned during this process.  We begin with this response from Doug & Nancy Rupp of Stryker, Ohio:

   The most important information we learned from The Ultimate Farm Quest was an overall concept that no one person has a corner on knowledge or a full perception of what to do or when to do it. Rather, there is a multitude of information and ideas that consultants are able to share that can help the total outcome for any farming operation.
   In making informed decisions in marketing, Chip Flory was able to help our operation make better pre-sales with formulas that have been successful for other farmers. He shared information to help us better take hedge to arrive contracts and analyze basis improvements over time, adding major dollars to our bottom line. 
   Barry Ward gave us decision making models that we could plug into our operation to determine what fertilizer and grain systems  (size, payback period, profitability and feasibility) are needed over the next few years.
   Missy Bauer has been extremely helpful in the development of soil testing zones and  writing prescriptions for variable fertilizer and seed placement. In addition, we worked on infared imaging and disovered some major areas of compaction. Based on this information, we have ordered a new planter which will enable us to cut 10,000 pounds off the weight of the planter and tractor. We feel this will improve profitability enough that the gain will pay for the planter over the next 3 year period. Where else can you make 33% interest on your investment? 
   The Ultimate Farm Quest has been both challenging and rewarding for our operation. We definitely appreciated the experts in helping us improve our day-to-day farming operation.


More From Our Viewers

Dec 20, 2010

 

#1:

    I am a 73 year old rancher (ZZORanch in CO) and watch your farm report every Saturday morning at 5:00 a.m. on Channel 5.   Overall, I give you high marks.  However, I have 2 negative comments this week.  First, I thought that you should have mentioned the negatives on ethanol which we taxpayers support at 45 cents per gallon - such as the large amounts of water to process, the cost of inputs to groceries, lower gas mileage out of ethanol, etc.   It is becoming the general public opinion that this is another government program that is failing.  Second, you showed Obama and his wife bragging about the new school lunch program.  This is an unfunded government mandate that will force a cost of 25 cents per meal on the local school districts and they will only receive support of 6 cents per meal - if lucky.  We in the West see this as just another example  of federal government over reach by this far left Obama administration.  School menus should be controlled at the LOCAL level period. 

Sincerely,  

Old Bob "The Cheerful Malcontent"    
 

#2:

   I rotate soybeans and wheat on my farm. Over the last 8-10 years I have only no-tilled both crops. No-tilling wheat into soybeans has never been a problem. No-tilling soybeans into wheat stubble has caused other farmers lots of problems. As a result, I have been burning my wheat stubble and have not had any problems no-tilling soybeans in the spring.
   Now I would like to stop burning wheat stubble and still successfully no-till soybeans. My thought in doing this is to remove the straw chopper and cut the wheat as short as possible, like soybeans, and bale all the straw. I am thinking the remaining stubble should be short enough to no-till soybeans with out any problems??? What do you think or have you other suggestions? I am using a late-model JD 750, 16 foot no-till drill!
   I have seen farmers in my area after wheat harvest go into the stubble with a stalk-chopper / flail machine and then no-till soys. Rather than invest in a chopper, I thought the combine could provide the same or similar results???
Would appreciate any and all comments!

Don Bishop

New Lothrop, Michigan 

#3:   

Dear Sirs,

    We have been watching the US Farm Report for the past decade every Saturday am for approximately 10 years. We are forage farmers in Indiana and produce an estimated 8-10,000 square bales, and approximately 200-300 round bales per year dependent upon the weather and field yields. This kind of farming is such a different kind of effort than the grain farmer as you know. We would like to know how to have an evaluation from the story you did on Farm Quest to evaluate our business. It is a hard job and physically demanding, but we love it. Our family works together to bring in the hay on "hay days", and we have mechanized as much of the process of making "hay" with hay bines, tedders, large rakes, accumulator, and bale grabs. My husband would start his hay season late in May and go up to the mid part of September. He is now full time retired from our local community college where he taught Construction Technology. 

 

   In anticipation for our up coming hay season, and under the confines of our current economic conditions, would there be any advice for our chosen aspect of "farming" that so many livestock and horse owners depend upon throughout the year? We also raise Corriente Cattle for our family sport of team roping and have a horse boarding business of 22 horses. We do love our life here on our farm and do appreciate your weekly reports. We were wondering if you ever talk about the forage farmer and his unique problems and efforts? Is there a national organization that is dedicated to the production of forage products? We would love to hear about the other farmers in America who do this necessary work and their efforts to making their farms the best they can be.

 

Thank you,
Jim and Pattiann Shearer
Roanoke, Indiana

 

 

What's With the Stuffed Suits???

Dec 13, 2010

   With all their combined “final thoughts”, there seems to be just one common, pathetic theme: “You pitiful farmers out there are helpless without us!”  Mark Gold even takes it one step further in his pandering, center stage plea to ‘just pick one of us’, there’s bound to be someone up here you agree with.  Come on!!

   The entire ludicrous premise that every producer MUST automatically run to the CBOT, with its endless list of ways to screw up in the name of “risk management” , and one of these 15 self promoting  ‘learned ones’, all of whom professing to know the secret LaSalle Street handshake and of having the keys to decode the “futures game” for us unwashed dirtfarmers, is worse than a waste of air time. It’s a dangerous indoctrination tool!
 
   You want to help farmers to “manage their risk”? Bring guests on who’ll tell producers how to avoid the CBOT’s bag of tricks and how to think for themselves rather than waste their money on these “stuffed shirts”! Believe me, the average farmer is already every bit as smart as these “15 deep thinkers” (no offense to the ‘average’ farmer).
 
Dick House
Arthur, IL

Bad Beans in N.C.

Dec 09, 2010

 

Hello,
 
   My name is Kenzy Edgerton. My farm is east of I-95 (in North Carolina). I personally had the worst soybean crop in 45 years. We had no rain rain in August  24 to September 25. In 2009 I averaged 45 bushels on non irrigated beans. 2010 average is 10 bushels on non irrigated acres. We had stalks for a 60 bushel crop. What did make was the size of BB shot. Just my two cents worth. There are no beans in the eastern part of N.C.

Marketing & Marriage

Dec 06, 2010

John,

   You may have stepped in it by throwing generalities about women into the already volatile mix of market price factors. However, the connection you make between marriage and marketing might explain why my marketing has been no better than an aspiration to achieve mediocrity, as my history with marriage has been even less so.

Gary Anderson

***Editor's Note:  John's comments are below...

   It is hard to keep your eyes off the grain markets these days.  In fact, it is a surprise when prices don't move dramatically.  And when they do, we go looking for the "story".  Part of the hard-wiring of our brains is to look for patterns in events that will help us predict outcomes.  Adding a narrative to tie observations together in a cause-and-effect linkage also helps to store those life lessons. 

   But life was much simpler when those abilities developed.  To explain even mundane markets today defies neat packaging.  For example, some of the factors in the grain markets currently are Chinese inflation fighting efforts, European currency woes, Australian weather, South American production questions, congressional deficit battles, hard-pressed livestock feeders, U.S. production costs, abundant free-range investment dollars, and changing food tastes. 

   This list is by no means exhaustive - I've only 90 seconds here.  My point is practically anyone could mix those ingredients into a mildly plausible story to explain why corn is up 20, and that is exactly what is happening.  But the hunger for reasons often distracts us from our real task:  to react to market signals.  Thriving as a farmer does not require being able to explain your markets.  Remember, few of us truly understand women, but many of us still have been succcessfully married for decades.

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