Sound decisions ease harvest load
One used combine was all Jim Facemire figured he needed to harvest 2,000 acres, plus some custom work. He still felt that way on Labor Day. But by Oct. 1, everything had changed.
He was heavy on soybean acres. Due to a combination of late planting, the coolest July on record, and a wet, early fall, he was still staring at all those soybeans Oct. 1.
The Edinburgh, Ind., farmer and his son, Ryan, who also farms, put on their thinking caps. With each day that passed, they explored more ideas. Finally, they decided this might be the year to lease a second combine.
“We checked the numbers, but it seemed like a lot of money to lease a machine,” Jim notes.
Another option was buying a second used combine. Thanks to an equipment rep, they located a carbon copy of their own combine, except it didn’t have a corn head.
• Look ahead and make quick decisions when crisis looms.
• Extra combining capacity took sting out of long, wet harvest.
• Super-sized wet holding bin paid for itself quickly.
“We figured corn harvest would be slow going because corn would be wet,” Ryan says. “We wouldn’t be able to keep up with a second combine. But we needed help on soybeans.”
So they bought the combine. When a four-day window finally opened, they harvested half of their acreage. Then wet weather returned. On a rainy, dreary Halloween eve, it looked probable soybeans might still be in the field in January.
The math was pretty simple: 50-bushel soybeans would become 40-bushel soybeans harvested on frozen ground or in the mud. Dock for low quality might run $2 a bushel. If running the second combine meant they only had 500 acres in that pickle instead of more than a 1,000, then: 500 times a 10-bushel loss times $10 per bushel equals $50,000, plus a $2-per-bushel loss times 40 bushels times 500 on the remaining acres for quality discount equals another $40,000, for a grand total of $90,000. Game, set, match — a 100% return on investment!
As it turns out, Mother Nature sent an Indian summer, and the Facemires finished their soybeans by mid-November. But they figure the second machine went a long way toward paying for itself. As it was, they didn’t finish shelling corn until after Thanksgiving. And one hybrid was already badly lodged.
“Plus, it came in handy the day our original machine broke,” Ryan says. “We simply switched corn heads.”
The original plan was to resell the second machine. After seeing how valuable an extra combine can be, they’re re-evaluating that strategy.
Big wet bin paid
Don Villwock, Edwardsport, Ind., also saw the handwriting on the wall. He found a reasonable lease offer on another combine, and went that direction. But it was his jumbo-sized wet holding bin that paid handsome returns this year.
Forced to relocate his farmstead so a utility company could build a new generating station, Villwock put together a new grain system two years ago.
“At the time I thought we probably went overboard by including 24,000 bushels of wet bin holding capacity,” he recalls. “I was all smiles every time I looked at it this fall. It played a big part in helping us finish as quickly as we did. We could shell when otherwise we would have been forced to wait.”
Villwock isn’t ready to recommend everyone invest in such a large wet holding bin. But at the same time, his isn’t for sale!