Saturday, February 14, 2009

Farm Auctions

I like to go to farm auctions. I used to buy and sell machinery as a hobby and a way to make a little money. I learned more than I made compared to the few who do make a living from this activity.

Today is the Hillsboro FFA farm machinery auction. The weather looks rainy but I will trek over there to see some people and see what the unwanted machinery is bringing.

I went last Saturday to the Lynchburg Clay FFA farm machinery auction and it was one of the first nice days to be out since the snow and ice storm. You could tell lots of people were out for the same reason.

Items sold pretty well I thought, not outrageously high but lots of money and items were changing hands. The interesting part was the loads of hay and straw for sale. I wouldn't want to sell my crop for those prices so I guess I reinforced my love for cash row crops and don't intend to start selling hay or straw anytime soon.

We have a beautiful barn we restored that is ideal for this activity. The crop would keep the fields green and prevent erosion. But so does no-till and cover crops. With hay and straw you are storing forever it seems and have to build a group of customers and become privy to their whims.

With grain I can forward contract and deliver out of the combine or fill the bins and wait until the market needs the grain and bids appropriately. You load the semi, send it off to the city and wait for your check. That is a lot different than selling hay or straw out of the barn.

I don't really like selling all the mass off the field either. I like just harvesting the fruit of the grain and leave the residue there to decompose. There is a lot of nutrient in a ton of crop residue.

Different strokes for different folks they say. I don't miss the livestock but I miss the manure. Cheap fertilizer right now. You make more from the manure than the animals that produced it today but livestock is full time and we like to travel.

I guess I am not the animal husband dad or grandpa was. They liked to grow crops and cut hay but were tied to the farm because of livestock.

The crop doesn't bawl so loudly when I am gone. The cows used to bawl so loud when I was a kid they made my head hurt.

Now when I take off and come back and it my crop is still there. I just let God take care of it while I am doing other things.

Not much of a farmer, am I? Guess I am the Lazy Farmer too.

Ed Winkle

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