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View From the Cab
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 2:44PM CDT
By Pam Smith
DTN Progressive Farmer Crops Technology Editor

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Let's face it, the list of chores on the farm is never ending and they extend beyond the field and furrow. "Just when you think you are caught up with fieldwork, a honey-do list appears," said Kyle Krier, of Claflin, Kansas.

"We've used a bit of a weather gap this week to catch up on things that needed to be done around home and farm," he said. "But it seems when we cross one thing off the list, a bunch more magically appear."

Genny Haun can relate. Rain delays kept the farm planters out of the field most of the weekend at Layman Farms near Kenton, Ohio, but it opened up opportunities to work on landscaping around her house. "Our son, Carter, is old enough now (4 1/2 years) that he's really in to 'helping.' It makes my heart melt to see him working beside us," she said.

DTN is following Krier and Haun throughout the 2018 crop season. The young farmers volunteered to update readers through this column each week.

Here's what has been happening on their farms during the week of May 16-23:


An inch to just a smidgen less than an inch of rain found its way to most of Krier's fields this past week. It was perfect timing to get soybeans off to a good start.

"We were starting to be a bit dry, and that is going to make for good soybean stand establishment," he said.

Milo planting is still a week or two away for Krier's farm. Krier likes to time milo planting so the crop flowers a bit behind the heat. "We think it does better if it sets seed in that late-August-to-mid-September time period," he said. "Although, by doing that, we do risk getting the needed rain to get the crop up."

So far, his part of central Kansas has been fortunate compared to other parts of the state where Krier fears wheat has "used up its nine lives."

"While cool temps have delayed our wheat compared to a typical year, we are still looking good. I'm not going to say we'll knock the bin doors off, but yields should be respectable if nothing else happens," he said.

Hay is right on schedule, though. A forecast of rain made Krier and his father, Kirby, hold off from mowing last week. However, they planned to start cutting on May 21.

A New Holland swather with a sickle head and a Massey Ferguson disc mower allow them to cut wide/fast swaths through their own acres and what they manage on a custom basis.

"There's a few things to tweak with the mowers -- like getting the right tilt on the header and making sure sickles and knives are sharp, but today's machines are really amazing. I tend to prefer the discbine system because I can drive a little faster," he said.

Raindrops and waiting for field operations may offer a break, but Krier and his work crews don't twiddle thumbs while waiting. They refinished a deck that had been on the to-do list for nearly two years. "All the lawns are mowed, fences fixed and equipment washed off.

"When the power washer comes out, we really know we're getting caught up," he said. "By that time, everyone is usually thrilled to get back in the field."


A three-hour board meeting in the middle of planting season was on Genny Haun's Monday schedule. She's the current vice-president of the Hardin County (Ohio) Farm Bureau Board of Trustees and will be installed as president next term.

"Our board has a lot of young farmers with BIG personalities," said Haun. "When we gather, there's a lot of passion packed into one room. We also get a lot done, though, and I love their commitment to agriculture."

She sees benefits for herself, agriculture and her family farm through such efforts.

The meeting came at a good time because operations at Layman Farms, at Kenton were on rain delay. Corn planting finished on Saturday, but heavy storms followed and had stalled soybean planting. The family still has about 50% of their soybeans left to go into the ground.

Still, Haun feels fortunate. Parts of Ohio to the north of her have been enduring an extremely wet spring. "At this point, we are planting any time we see an opening," she said. "We're just trying to finish it up the best we can."

The family rented an additional farm for 2018 that is only 15 miles away, but difficult to reach. Delivering meals to the workers last week brought one of those special moments of clarity that made Haun realize why she's purposefully chosen this life of farming.

"Mom was babysitting my nephew. We grabbed my two kids and slapped three car seats in the back of the Jeep and headed to the field," she recalled. "At one point, we had to stop and wait on a train. I looked back and saw those three patient kids crammed together and then looked over at my mom.

"I just had to take a picture of all of us because it occurred to me how lucky we were to all be together, and life just seemed so good," she said.

Both farmers said next week they will need to ratchet-up field scouting and other operations, so it is good to savor these slightly slower moments.

Read earlier View From the Cab installments here:




Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.smith@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PamSmithDTN


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