Dreamin’ of a Long Winter’s Nap?

“T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…And mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winters nap…..”

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Ahhh! Those were the good ol’ days! Remember when we purchased our seed in February? Remember when Pioneer was owned by Pioneer and John Deere just sold machinery? Remember when Congress acted? As I remember it, life was simpler then. But, I’ve got no time for reminiscing!

The combine needs to be cleaned. Planter units need to be removed from the planter, checked, cleaned and calibrated before they can be tucked in for winter. Strip tilling needs doing before the snow flies. Fence needs fixin’. Hay needs haulin’.

My crop insurance agent wants my production – yesterday. I need to meet with the tax preparer so I know what to do before the end of the year, and the banker is getting impatient. Which reminds me, my iPad is still in the combine.

Wait a minute there’s a text comin’ in on my smart phone. Corn is up! Wait, here comes another one. Corn is down. Excuse me, I have to check my Twitter feed. Hmm looks like South America’s soybean crop may be a good one. Now to check this web page to see what the EPA is up to today.

I’ve got someone’s 20/20 here and need to analyze some data for them. First glance tells me the stand was poor, not enough down pressure. Was there enough nitrogen to meet their yield goal? Got a Facebook Christmas greeting from my cousin in Oregon announcing that she’s sworn off GMO’s, red meat, and high fructose corn syrup, and is eating organic, and strictly from the grocery store, just to be safe. (Hope she washes her lettuce reeeal good!) Here’s another text. Margins are tight. I already knew that one!

All of this “incoming” information lands in our laps while at the same time we find ourselves in a tight-margin world. Our heads aren’t just swimming, they hurt! Just as farmers are looking at ways to increase efficiencies and still increase yields to be profitable, so are ag companies. News or rumors of potential mergers, sell offs, or purchases are common place in today’s ag news. The tight margin environment is true for the farmer and his supplier.

Earlier this month Precision Planting, a Monsanto owned company that produces after-market technologies for planters, was purchased by John Deere. We can speculate on why this change in mega corporation ownership occurred, or theorize that the purchase was to eliminate competition. But my long winter’s nap will be more easily attained if I take the view that John Deere recognizes the “tight margin” environment for the ag producer today and is aware that many farmers will need to make adjustments to current equipment, rather than trade for new.

What can be done to sort out all of this information and make an action plan for a profitable 2016? Count on your team of advisors. Your seed supplier, your agronomy support specialist, your equipment and technology providers, your financial advisors and your crop insurance agent will all be helpful in developing a workable plan.

With that in mind, consider attending the Planting Clinic we are hosting December 15th at our Bauman Agency Service Center 9 miles north of Huron. We will help you sort out the incoming and provide valuable assistance in planning for a successful outcome in 2016. Most of all, you’ll sleep like a baby during that long winter’s nap!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Image Credit: Kanko*

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