FARMER FOCUS: Cropping is a month behind

The week of 15 April proved to be quite tragic in the USA. The explosion in West Texas was overshadowed by the Boston Marathon bombing, writes Brian Hind.

Apparently 12 of the 14 killed in Texas were first responders, five of them volunteer firemen. Having served 20 years on our volunteer fire department, I’d like to ask everyone to look around their farmsteads and businesses and do their best to make sure there isn’t a bomb waiting to go off if there is a fire. In farming communities all over the world ordinary people drop what they are doing at a moment’s notice to render aid to their neighbours. Let’s all show our appreciation to them by not making their service more dangerous than it needs to be.

The last month has been cold and miserable in Kansas, completely different from last year when the weather was six weeks ahead. Our growing season is now about a month behind normal. Some rain has eased drought conditions. Figures issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service show that in Kansas only 5% of corn was planted by 21 April. Figures also showed 37% of the wheat was poor or very poor, only 30% was good to excellent and 68% of the pasture was poor to very poor.

I went to a farm auction last week and a 1990 CaseIH 7110 2WD with 4,400 hours went for $45,000 (£29,500) and a 1990 7120 2WD with 6,600 hours fetched $46,000 (£30,150). Both were very clean tractors and proof that the market for good, used tractors is hot. I was interested in a 2009 Krause 24ft set of discs, thinking it would be too small for the big farmers, and with no-till becoming the rage that there would be little market for it. I was wrong, as it fetched $16,000 (£10,500). Hopefully, by my next column the weather will warm up and I’ll have corn out of the ground.

Brian Hind farms 1,250ha of prairie land in Greenwood county, Kansas, America, of which 770ha is family owned plus the rest is rented. Of this, 330ha is arable cropping with maize, soya, grain sorghum, alfalfa plus a mix of rye, triticale and turnips for grazing by 200 beef cattle. Grassland is used to produce hay.

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