In all my naivety of being a farmer’s wife for only six harvests, I thought this was surely going to be “IT”! This was the year we had been waiting for!
Right? Well then it rained. Which was good at first, for the late beans. And then it kept raining. And raining. Until 5-10 inches has accumulated and bean fields were submerged and I could only see the tassels sticking out from atop the corn.
But the rain went down, and not everything was ruined. There is a faint smell of dog waste in the low areas as the soybeans rot in the fields, but most of the crop was still OK. So now this was going to be “it”!
Harvest started for us on Monday! And husband came home late and confirmed exactly what I thought! A record crop! He had never before raised 200 bushel corn and now this year we might average it! I was planning my tropical vacation….
And while I was picking out flip flops, he reminded me about prices. Prices? Oh yea….prices. Corn was at an all-time low during my tenure as a farmer’s wife and getting lower every day. And because our neighbors (and by neighbors I mean every corn farmer in the continental US) were also looking at record yields, chances are it was only getting cheaper.
Ok, so put away the suitcase. But, I knew when I signed up for this gig that we weren’t in it to get rich. (Or at least he claims I knew that. I don’t recall him telling me that but it must have been in the fine print on the marriage license.)
But still, we were going to have record yields! So even if corn was cheap we were still going to have lots of it and this would off-set low prices and we would still have an awesome, worry free harvest.
And then, this morning over coffee I found out the elevator in town is full. And the facility south of town that our elevator hauls to is nearly full and could be maxed out in as little as five days. And the private grain storage we have won’t be enough for even half of the grain we raise.
Ok, so then what? We wait. For how long? Days with trucks in line at town. Weeks to get the crop out because there is no where to take it.
So harvest will be stretched out and slow. That won’t be so bad, I thought. He will be home for dinner at night. And he will still be relaxed because we have all those beans standing in the field!
Then I found out that corn can sprout….ON THE EAR. And this is a very bad thing. And beans? Yes they will shatter and break onto the ground, where they can no longer be harvested.
I watched my father-in-law punch numbers into his calculator this morning as he estimated how many bushel he could store on what farms, and if he were able to haul some off how much more room he could get. And what if they were still able to rent those bins a friend had saved for them? But no matter how he ran the numbers there just wasn't enough room.
So, lesson learned (again). This isn't "it". This won't be the year all my crazy dreams come true of exotic vacations and an expensive show heifer.
But at the end of the day I still have everything I really need - a good husband, healthy boys, and an extra 15,000 bushel of grain to dump in the backyard and walk through with my flip flops on!
Happy (and SAFE) harvest to everyone!
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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