finishing kansas

We finished up Tribune Saturday early evening but got a call this morning for about 150 acres. In the scheme of things, 150 isn’t a lot but years like this, we recognize how fortunate we are.

Gilbert, our main farmer in Tribune, was down a couple hundred acres that got zeroed out and we finished him up Friday evening. One of the biggest perks of making the same stops, in good years and bad are definitely the relationships you make and maintain. Gilbert was calling around to see if anyone needed some extra help and found us 160 acres near his house. The farmer lives by Leoti (30 miles from the field) and it was organic wheat, which is a little more finicky when it comes to weeds after it gets rained on, at least from my understanding.

Then in typical years, what is a typical year?, Stan has been having us cut 500 acres up by Wallace. Wallace tends to get more precipitation than Tribune but that also means more chances of hail. This year the hail came and those acres were zeroed out. Since they were down those acres and perhaps more, the family thought they could manage but this morning, we got the call to cut 150 if it was ripe. Typically, we have been cutting 1600 acres at this stop. We should leave town in the 1200 acres ballpark so again, given the year (past 7 summers?), we are going to move forward grateful for the acres.

I don’t really know how some crews are doing it. I know that on the list of fortunate/unfortunate crews, we definitely fall under the fortunate column. Insane machinery costs, expensive repairs for those basically new machines (even though Blake and Bruce take on most of our labor), truck maintenance, labor challenges of finding and keeping good help, insurance expenses, taxes, it all adds up to an amount that can make your head spin. Farmers, whether they follow “the rules” of good farming or not, are entitled to government assistance. Custom harvesting, having no insurance, no assistance, and no contracts with their farmers is a tough business. This isn’t a poor us rant (I’ve already declared we are in the fortunate column) but I know the expenses / challenges and every thousand acres short is a significant pinch. When guys’ full runs are in turmoil, I feel for them.

Moving forward, once we get moved to Nebraska, we should be able to cut right away or soon after in Chappell. We are short some acres due to some unforeseen bug (last year, it was mosaic in Kansas but it is something else in Nebraska this year). After that, we will see how it all works out with Chadron and Circle. It seems Circle is ready much earlier than it used to be, especially with the addition of more pulse crops, peas and lentils, being planted.

Blake got a call from a friend/customer just to give him a heads up on time frame in Montana. From the sounds of it, peas will be first, followed by lentils, and then spring wheat. There probably isn’t going to be any / much winter wheat since it was so dry last fall and instead, there will be more peas and lentils. I’m always getting my information from Blake amidst three rambunctious kids so if I tell you something different in a few weeks, don’t be surprised! Anyway, the sprinklers got turned on in Montana so barring hail, there should be a great crop up there.

Speaking of rambunctious kids, they are all doing well. The girls hit up the pool on Saturday and Cal given the choice between the combine and pool, chose the combine. I’m a huge fan of night swim, given my hate of keeping three kids and myself sunscreened up, so I told the kids we could go last night too (the only night the pool has evening hours). To my surprised, machinery boy had a blast. He was running around like a madman, no surprise there, but he was having a blast. Once Blake was done settling up, he came and the kids had fun with him.

Overall, we are having a pretty good summer. The sleeping arrangements leave A LOT to be desired but it’s safe to say that if that’s my biggest challenge of life right now, we’re doing alright. Hope you have a good week.

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