Fall and post harvest ideas

Farm Forum

The seasons are changing as evident by the shorter days. A few topics to discuss before things are put away:

Machinery Assessment/ Repairs: Now is the time to either send machines in for checkups, or document which equipment may need some extra attention and/or replacement during the winter months. With the limited weather timetable of operations, coupled with the capacity of today’s machines, minimizing downtime is a must for maintaining productivity.

Marketing: Don’t forget about the grain that you may have put on a delayed price contract at harvest. Every day is a potential selling opportunity. Your decision then was understandably based on putting off action until you could accurately assess your harvest, etc. It was not meant to kick the can down the road and not act on it until the minimum or maximum timetable expires.

Soil testing/Fall fertilizing/Seed selection: There should be a lot of “calendar” left for fall applications if necessary on your farm. This time frame can alleviate some of the spring rush. The marketing and fertilizing strategies may also integrate with some income tax management decisions, and they can only be made accurately if your records are up to date. This is something that may require not working outside on a nice fall day, but may save some “why didn’t I” thoughts come February!

Another crucial thing is communication with your landlords. This is an important and courteous business practice. You speak more than once or twice/ year with lenders, agronomy, and implement dealers. Why do we shy away from this integral part of your farm’s team? Consider a post-harvest letter summarizing the growing season and your plans for the upcoming year. I feel it is appropriate to politely note the changes in crop prices from a year ago. Flex leases are becoming more attractive as a way of sharing a bountiful crop, but can seem complicated. Have a look at some examples and plug in numbers of the past couple of years production to determine how such an arrangement would have worked on your farm.

Weed Control: The fall moisture should have the pesky biennial thistles displaying a good target in the pastures. This is an excellent time for control of them.

A continuing concern goes out to all those affected by the October 4-5-6th storm. There are many links to information, and groups organizing aid on our Facebook page; South Dakota Center for Farm/ Ranch Management. You can contact me at 605-995-7191, or will.walter@mitchelltech.edu.