The land rent for leased land is paid up. Now we know how many acres of owned and leased land we are using and what we need for seeds, fertilizer, lime, chemicals and fuel for the coming year. All equipment has been serviced over winter with wear parts, the parts that touch the soil, before they are needed at breakdown. All of these inputs, if financially able, are prepaid when ordered for better prices and discounts.

The typical crops grown in Central New York for commercial use are corn, soybeans, spring wheat, oats and rye. Farming is heavily dependent on the weather. For example, planting season could be a total washout with rain, meaning it could be so wet it is impossible to complete tillage and planting, or vice versa – it could be so dry the seed doesn’t germinate, or worse, germinates then dies to drought.

Soils vary from sandy light, rocky or heavy clay and the rain and sun affect them each differently. Something we can do to combat these issues is buying hybrid seeds with the traits that fit our soils and growing conditions. Some such traits are for insect, drought or mold resistance, to help producers make the most out of their yields.

Along with this we can also choose an herbicide programs that helps us with weed control. We also call the fuel oil companies to get prices and availability on diesel fuel and lock in prices. Sometimes the availability isn’t always there, especially in this economy – the price is only good during the phone call, making it hard to budget for fuel.

This is a very expensive time of the year

Filling up tractors is always expensive, and the chore is even more ambiguous this time of year because of a desire to lock in fuel prices. Photo by Ben Simons

In early April, we called the local fuel company and wanted our three tractors fueled up. It took 250 gallons to fill them at $4/gallon – $1,000 – and this amount of fuel is enough to run these tractors for 12 hours or one full working day. Last year we used 4,000 gallons of fuel to complete tillage, spread lime and fertilizer, plant and spray for weed control and harvest.

Last year, herbicide was on back order and came in just in the nick of time. The weeds were knocked back/killed and the crop wasn’t stunted. Most farm crop chemicals are made outside the U.S.

Parts for equipment and tractors are also few and hard to find. COVID really disrupted the agricultural world and lives. Tractor tire prices have gone up three to four times what they were two years ago and the supply is limited. Baling twine for hay farmers is up 100% from two years ago.

This is a very expensive time of the year and not for the faint of heart. We do all of this to feed all of you and the world.

by Ben Simons