Where has the year gone? It seems we went from late summer to early winter and missed out on a nice fall! Fall was a real challenge…..it was long, muddy, and not much fun. After a wet summer, we hoped for a dry fall. But with cooler than normal temperatures and continued showers, we weren’t very efficient. Fortunately, because of our changes in tillage and field operations, we handled it much better than most. Despite the excess moisture, our corn and soybean crop was better than expected. Soybeans yields were in the low 60’s and corn yields ranged from 160-235 bushels per acre. Adequate drain tile again showed its importance and helped justify our purchase of a tile plow. We were able to do some tiling but with a late fall and a quick freeze up, limited our efforts to install more tile. We hope to finish one project next spring before planting and will focus on next fall. The simplicity of running the plow and our crew made the job enjoyable. The real satisfaction is that we are improving areas of farms that will be more productive in the future. Our sugarbeet crop was challenged all year. Starting with wet fields to get planted then continuing on to struggles of timely spraying of weeds. It was apparent by mid July that our crop wouldn’t be very good. With humid conditions, a leaf blight called Cercospera Leaf Spot became a huge issue. We normally spray 3-4 times a year and control the disease, but this year up to 8 applications were done with no success. This impacts both sugar and tonnage. Needless to say, our whole cooperative suffered one of the poorest crops since the mid 1990’s. Crop insurance helps a small amount but doesn’t come close to making us whole. Our guys were again fantastic throughout the harvest battle and are so appreciated! They are key to our success. While grain markets are still lower than desired, we must focus on expense control and good decisions to stay profitable. I refer back to an elderly gentleman that shared some advice to me as a beginning farmer…”not every year will be good, but there is always NEXT YEAR”!! We are looking forward to the calendar turning to 2019 and starting a new year.
Our family continues to be running in all directions. Ethan and his wife Vanessa, are about 2/3rds through their rotations (internships) to finalize a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree in April. They have received some job offers already and hope to settle down in Northern Minnesota. McKaia graduated from NDSU last week after fall semester. She had taken college courses in both her junior and senior year of high school. She started college as a junior and a year and a half later completed a Political Science/City Administration degree, graduating Summa Cum Laude! She is interviewing for openings in city administration offices around the state. Malli, junior in high school, has begun taking college courses as well. She still attends high school but works on her college courses during some free hours at school. She is involved with many activities and is never home….we just keep her car gassed up! Malli is hopeful her dance team makes is to State again this year! Maleia, 10th grade, had a great cross country season this fall and loves to run. She is trying something new this winter, joining a swim club and loves it. She also joined the FFA and placed 2nd in a Farm Operations Management Team contest. Maybe, she should be running this farm! Someday!? Mari, 8th grade, has excelled in her athletics this year. She had a great volleyball season and was asked to tryout for a Kandi Elite team based out of Willmar. She not only made the team but was moved up to the 15 year old’s team. Little did we know, this involves tournaments in the Twin Cities, Rochester, and Sioux Falls, finishing up in mid- June with a national tournament in Orlando, FL. Her basketball skills are similar as she is playing on the JV team, moving up from her junior high team. Miraya, 6th grade, is also a dancer and takes classes at a private studio in Hutchinson. She will join the school dance team next year. Her class does a Science Fair project this year and she has chosen “Soil Health” to be her topic. I’m all in on this idea and excited to help her with this! Sandy and I continue to “chase” them in all directions and enjoy watching there talents. Sandy still teaches part time specializing in Advanced Math. She will be chaperoning the 7/8th grade classes on a Washington DC/New York trip in May. I have several short trips scheduled with our Sugar Beet Co-op Board this winter as well. I will also be sharing our strip till and cover crop practices at a few speaking engagements which I enjoy. We are so proud of our kids and amazed by their abilities. God has blessed us unbelievably!!
From our family to yours, we hope you have a healthy and happy Holiday Season! We are truly grateful for working with all of you! We wish time allowed to visit with you more as we truly care about your family activities as well. God is good! Remember the Reason for the Season! Make 2019 a great year in your lives!
Blessings to all!