Thursday, July 29, 2010

The mangement side of things

The hardest part of farming for me is the management side of it.  Tell me "Go there. Do that" and I go and do and life is simple.    I guess my management style is more goal oriented.   I'd rather say "This, this and this needs done." and let you do it.  Doing it the way I would do it isn't as important to me as getting it done.  It seems to be the management style of most of the places I worked off the farm.  Provide the employee with the tools he needs and let him do his job.  This does require just the right employees.

We are currently having an ongoing discussion with our fertilizer company.  Some equipment broke down this Spring.  Some mistakes were made this Spring.  Things were not made ready like they should have been.  But the thing that stings the most is finding out their employee knew they had an equipment problem but did nothing to resolve it.  He just didn't seem to grasp the fact that how the acres  were spread was every bit as important as getting across them.  He had the tools, he just didn't do the job.  Or maybe he never had the job explained properly.  Or maybe he did and he didn't understand.

Which leads back to the management stuff.  I'm setting here right now pondering on what to plant next year.  Right now I can contract new crop wheat for $6.28.  I've never been wrong selling wheat for over $6.  What I'm pondering is this: We could easily put out 400 acres of wheat this fall and irrigate and double crop 280 acres of that. And with $6.28 wheat and $9.53 beans that looks very interesting.  But do I want to roll into mid June with 400 acres of wheat looking me in the face?  This year we had under 100 acres and thought we'd never get it harvested.  The weather finally gave us a break.

But looking at it from my landowner's perspective I have the possibility to gross nearly $900 an acre if we get decent wheat and bean yields  With exceptional yields we are looking at nearly $1000 per acre gross.

I realize 250 bushel corn at $4 is in the same area.  But that really isn't one of the options. The decision here is full season beans or wheat then double crop? Yes, there are some expenses involved.  But I've spread their risk over 2 crops and cash flow over several more months.  Mine as well.

But what if we get hit with poor harvest weather or low test weight or aflatoxin ?  And how do I harvest 400 acres of wheat in a timely manner?

Management decisions.

I'm beginning to understand Ecclesiastes 5:12 "The sleep of a laborer is sweet..."  Just put me behind a steering wheel and point me the right direction. and I don't have to worry about all this management stuff.

I had big plans this week.  Proverbs 16:9 says "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Steps like a funeral visitation, forms that need filled out, phone calls that have to be made. So far my biggest accomplishment this week was painting a bolt bin (see )

One other thing I got done was take a few pictures.  I discovered my camera has a "panorama" function.  It stitches together 3 shots for one picture.    I got the bucket truck out and took a few field shots last night
Here's one that made me scratch my head.  You can't see it very well in this small format, but the system in this photos has 4 towers.  Problem is there's only 3 towers.  I messed up stitching the photos together, but it fits so well you can barely see it.

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