Hoosiers Will Plant A Crop Again Next Year

Hoosier Perspectives

The sun will still come up the day after harvest, and it will be time to plan for a new crop.

Published on: August 20, 2012

I get the impression there are many people who would like to wave their magic wand over this year's crops and have them disappear. Not everyone, mind you. Some people who caught just the right rains at just the right time will have excellent yields- but they're the exception this time, not the rule.

The crop won't disappear, but the day after the combine runs through it, or the day after you mow or disk it down if it's truly worthless, that's the same day you start looking toward next year. If I heard that once, I heard it a dozen times from speakers at meetings and field days over the past two weeks. Farmers are resilient, and right now there is no other approach that you can take and remain positive.

If you've got reasonably good crop insurance and some crop, you may still have a decent year financially. In fact, someone has calculated that if your corn makes 30 bushels, you forward contracted 60, but you had revenue type crop insurance, you could wind up with about $800 per acre. If corn had made 200 bushels per acre on your farm and everywhere else as some hoped when the season started, and corn was $4 per bushel, you'd still be taking in $800 gross.

The problem is farmers are geared up to grow corn and do the best they can, not settle for crummy yields, even if insurance helps you make it through the year in decent shape. One agronomist says he's noticed that the whole concept of drought and very low yields has begun to take their toll on farmers, especially the younger ones. Anyone younger than 30 probably had no concept of what a true drought was really like. And no matter if you've been through a drought or not, you have the agonizing wait of watching a burnt up crop until you can get in the field and do something about it.

Once the fields are harvested again, this same agronomist believes moods will improve. "They can start all over thinking about next year," he says.

A successful 4-H breeder once told me when I picked up my kids pigs one spring that when they go out the door, we hope they're all winners. The reality is they won't all be winners. But it's the attitude you have to take if you want to get better, he says. Then if they're not winners, you start over for next year, improving and doing your best to make sure that the pigs that leave the barn next year are all winners.

This year's crop certainly wasn't a winner for many of you. But you're all Hoosiers. Most of you will live to fight another day. Otherwise, you wouldn't be Hoosiers, and you certainly wouldn't be farmers. Farming today is not for the faint of heart. If you couldn't stand up to adversity and come back stronger for it, you would have hung up your farming cap long ago.