Still Betting on the Odds

I have been dragging my feet on this update. Easter was last weekend and I remember a couple blogs ago stating there was a 75% chance we would have seed in the ground by then.

Some day I will realize this life is out to embarrass and humiliate me when ever I give it the chance, or as Yogi Berra allegedly proclaimed, “Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.”

In other words, it is April 20th and Pinicon does not have any seed in the ground. We are not alone in this cohort as the weekly crop progress report had Iowa and Minnesota at 1% and 2% respectively.

I am not personally feeling much anxiety over this but I can tell the new owners are eager to get started planting. Based on my thirty five plus seasons farming, my opinion is we are still 10 days from the optimum window for planting. However, as Bert would quickly point out, the yield cliff kicks in by mid May and these wet spring patterns tend to persist.

If this was too easy, any one could do it.

Keeping occupied has not been a problem. The rock crew is off to a good start. Lewis, Johan, and Deon have been out half a dozen days in the last two weeks. The tile repair list gets shorter every day as Donavan is making the rounds with his backhoe.

Mayer’s Digging and Beer Excavating have been cleaning ditches, moving driveways, making waterways and leveling spoils.

The “River” (Mississippi) is taking grain. Open navigation usually means a pop in basis which is our opportunity to deliver against prior sales. Three to five trucks are delivering every day with corn going to one of the three nearest ethanol plants and beans going to Prairie du Chien.

The annual “Spring planning meeting” was held the first week of April. This one was especially rewarding for me as I just had to show up. Bert and Ben planned the agenda and lead the meeting. Bert went over Team assignments, safety issues and essential procedures. Ben gave the Team a shop tour which covered tool location and use, consumable inventory location, and Shop procedures.

In true “Mother Hen” fashion, Danni made sure we had our monthly safety meeting. “Torch Safety” and “When a Crisis Strikes” were this months topics. Even though not all our workers have direct involvement with these topics, our consistent emphasis on training and best practices makes everyone more thoughtful.

Past history says there is a 90% chance that we will have seed in the ground by May first.

Some people never learn.

Till next month,

Jim

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