This is our third year farming and its really taught us to be humble.
We actually got our corn planted the second week in may on our quick drying ground. The beans finished up the first week of June. It was wet and muddy the whole way. In fact we prevented planted about 20% of our bean acres. It was just too marginal and it gave us time to get some ditches put in and fences built. The fences are going to come in handy as the last real rain of the corn season was in May. We are now severely short hay and will need the 200 acres of fall grazing desperately.
I paid a pretty good size rookie penalty on a field of corn. Ive been pushing population with success but the late planting and dry conditions and... the hybrid have me looking at about 40 acres that might do 50 bushels. You know its bad when you have to hunt around to find ears to take a moisture. Even the areas with good stalks didnt set ears. The other corn has some burned out spots where the gravel gets close but its not a complete disaster. Im guessing 120 bushels. All and all its going to be rough on corn yield and the futures falling out of bed is not helping on the fall insurance value.
The beans stayed green long enough to see a shift in the weather. Im thinking they may run 35 bushels. Thats not great but better than the corn. I did have my best year yet no tilling the beans and getting a stand. The key was planting deeper, more down pressure, and keeping the row 7.5 inches off the old corn rows no matter what. In finally learning how to get it done like the real farmers I was happy.
Hedging was tough this year. I started selling a 4.30 18 months ago. I did start to buy back in sales as my crop prospects declined. Eventually I just bought them all back as I though zero was possible. The net in corn is a hedging loss of $1/bu after all the gyrations. I did sell what little production I am expecting at $7.20 so atleast that went right. We also go some 2012 corn sold at $630 on the Dec 12 CBOT to get a program for 2012 started. Also sold some options against the 2012 crop to start earning a few cents.
The beans got hedged at 13.30 and promptly went to 14.30. I once again looked stupid. Now I am smarter. Ill put the beans on NPE this fall, roll my sale to the March futures to cover the NPE charges and wait for a better basis.
The big news is we bought a bigger planter on Monday. Its a big move for us given we have started farming on a shoestring in 2009. Our little six row planter is all we own with everthing thing else leased or hired custom. Now we will reinvest everything weve done in 3 years in a modern planter and the tractor to pull it. That will let us expand and maybe do a little custom work. It should help us plant quickly around my day job and prevent diseconomies of scale that have clipped my much larger neighbors. The goal is to farm 1000 acres and keep the day job. This is the ground work being set. It sure does make me a little nervous.... Now we have a lot invested.
I hope all is well with you and your families. Think safety in the fields this fall.