Thankful for Opportunities in Agriculture |

Thankful for Opportunities in Agriculture

Will Walter
Instructor, SD Center for Farm/Ranch Business Management

As another harvest is over I’d like you to reflect back on an eventful year. For many regions, the drought had a devastating impact on the crops, and the livestock feed harvested by our producers. A quote from Einstein, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”I tell myself this often when I am frustrated because my cattle didn’t go the chute as easy as we hoped, or when I can’t find a tool because of my carelessness, etc.Obviously though, you cannot make it rain.

What are some points to take from this year to use in the future?????

1. Crop acreage and yield estimates in May are not a sure indicator of an above average crop.

2. Small grains are not just a “worthless” part of your rotation. Winter wheat is likely going to be the best crop in places this year.

3. Not having all of your hybrids the same maturity – stagger pollination.

4. Different, or avoiding altogether, tillage on different types of soils in your operation.

5. Never forget the things you knew, but hoped not to practice again, about corn silage! This fell into play whether you were a buyer or seller.

6. A “gully washer rain” in May compacted soil but still allowed us to plant on time and ended up being the only sizable rain in many areas to fill stockdams.

7. I think we saw that psychology can take a market so far and then things must change. The US corn market ran itself so high that several things can kick in; overpriced for ethanol (plant shutdowns), overpriced for domestic feed (alternatives or imported in, or livestock liquidation) when that point comes prices can change abruptly, note the similar soybean sell off recently. Instead of trying to get another nickel, soon you are hoping to get $2 under where “I should’ve sold!”

8. Did you wean early and/or cull non-productive animals sooner to save feed resources? Is that something you should implement every year?

9. Should you consider some type of hay storage with the value of forage?

10. Could you have saved more of your high valued crop from field loss with some improvements in your harvest equipment?

11. Crop insurance is a necessity. Should you implement Pasture Forage Rainfall insurance?

Every year is different and poses its own challenges and opportunities. Having the ability to accept this and be satisfied that you did what you thought was right, with what information you had at the time, keeps us looking forward. That is where our individualized Farm Business Management program comes into play by assisting you to prepare and create your own farm’s trends and analysis to provide the sound information you need to make successful business decisions.

No matter how the year’s grain crop ended up, please give thanks for the ability to provide food and shelter for, and receive blessings from your family and friends. If celebrating another year of health and happiness, your bin is full!

You can reach us at SDCFRBM @ 1-800-684-1969, or