How many jobs do you have? Many of us probably work the equivalent of at least two fulltime jobs. When you consider the amount of time and the variety of skills used, farmers especially work more than one fulltime job.
The Ready farm is at the point of transition and shifting jobs. Sid (Mr. Ready) will be back in school teaching by the time you read this, so jobs will change and time to complete tasks will also. Mr. Ready is in his 16th year teaching, so he now has almost as many years where he has been a farmer/teacher as he had as a fulltime farmer. Every year as he returns to the classroom to teach chemistry, advanced biology, environmental science and advanced chemistry, we readjust and alter routines to fit the labor available.
Currently, our corn and soybeans are using quite a bit of water and though it seems hard to believe, we could use a rain. Our last significant rainfall was .60 back on July 21. We are fortunate to have pivot irrigation and that has been one of the jobs over the past month. Corn is blister to milk stage while soybeans are at full bloom. Soybeans are short due to the wet, late spring. We have avoided the thistle caterpillar and its big appetite for bean leaves so far. Others in our neighborhood have had to treat for these caterpillars, which are the larval stage of the Painted Lady butterfly. Spray planes and helicopters have been applying preventative fungicide on both corn and soybeans. In our experience as agronomists and crop consultants (yet another job Mr. Ready and I have had), scouting fields is vital to understanding when to treat. We no longer scout fields for others but continue to check our own fields and have not seen a need for fungicide.
We have opened up a previously ungrazed area of pasture for our small beef herd. This area has a high water table and to this point was too wet to graze. Now, that subsurface water has kept the grass lush and tender as we move into a drier time period. We also had some flood-damaged pasture where we put in some annual forages. We will have cows on this area before the end of August. Much of our pasture is old creek bed, which has advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is ample shade for hot days. Our yearlings in the lot required sprinklers for cooling on the hottest days. The hot days were breezy so that was very helpful in keeping them cool.
As I think about all the jobs we do, I also think of all the jobs others have. Our county fair just ended. The Dodge County Fair is always a highlight of our summer. Anna had beef and dairy animals at the fair, so chore jobs were expanded as we had more stops to make with feed and water. Sid and I also volunteered in a couple different areas at the fair. The big job of organizing and making the fair successful was on our local fair board members. They have lots of jobs throughout the year along with their own fulltime jobs. Their volunteer time as board members is incredibly valuable. Trying to keep all of those involved with the fair happy can be tough but they do their best and deserve our thanks.
We all make our communities better by taking on jobs that need to be done. It can seem overwhelming at times and gratitude from others can be hard to come by. Especially if those jobs involve making some tough decisions that impact others. In order to keep our agriculture communities strong, we need to continue to take on jobs and get the work done. We have been blessed with the ability to work and take on a variety of jobs. I hope you, too, feel blessed in the jobs you do whatever they might be.
November soybean basis is at $1 and December corn basis is $0.28 at the Scribner CVA. — Ruth Ready