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Thursday, April 15, 2010

I am the worst businessman in the world...

I have been hearing these rumors of folks who are going to call me to plant soybeans or corn and after hearing talk for a while I decided to actually find out what was going on.
Yesterday I talked to the fellow who was going to plant beans. He said he didn't think my Great Plains drill did as well planting at 1/2" depth as a John Deere and so he was going to have the other neighbor plant his beans. I thought that was a pretty stupid reason but I didn't say anything. Now if he would have just said that he wanted to give the neighbor a planting job, that would have not been so annoying. First of all he needs to get rid of his 1/2" deep planting obsession. Just a little bit more depth would make the planting much easier and well, I just plant it 3/4" deep anyway. This may be his complaint. Perhaps I should just do exactly what he says? I guess we shall see if the John Deere can no-till beans 1/2" deep and keep them covered no-tilling into rough ground. So, you figure the bean is 1/4" diameter and that leaves you with 1/4" of soil covering it.... Whatever....
Then I called the fellow with the 70 acres of corn. I worked into the conversation by asking him how his oats looked. It turns out he wanted to ask my opinion on corn. This was not good. He wanted to sell it to a large dairy at the coast which could only chop on weekends. They want to pay him what we think is too close to our break even point.
So... you spend $400 per acre on your corn then you wait for the dairy to come and chop it on the weekend?  What if it rains? What if it frosts? What if you don't get 35 ton? What if you get 22 ton? You may think you are getting $800 an acre gross, but you could just as well get $350. Do you have a contract? Do they pay based on TDN? Where is the scales?
In the end I think I talked him out of it.
I have to be more positive...
I just lost a 70 acre planting job! Plus, I almost had him talked into strip-tilling so there was another custom hire.
I am kicking myself in the shins right now...


  1. Seems like talking a fellow out of a bad deal is good business, long term. Maybe he will remember that you saved him money and aggravation and have you do all his planting next year, or refer somebody else to you.

    And maybe the corn crop will be short and valuable, and the boys from the coast will decide it's okay to chop on Thursday afternoon and Wednesday, and your neighbor will have the chance to consider that you have saved him the trouble of collecting a small fortune.

    'Course none of that makes any difference when what you really need is some planting NOW. And this is farming, where sometimes it seems that the best, most finely calculated efforts go to rust, wind, taxes and the spavin footed buzzards.

  2. I'm starting to get a little nervous. I have two payments totaling $10,000 due June 1st. Just spent $2000 on fertilizer which I didn't think I would have to spend. It would be different if there was anything that was worth any money!

  3. Yikes. Ongoing plight of the farmer was celebrated in 'Four Cent Cotton' recorded circa 1928 by fiddler Lowe Stokes with the 'Skillet Lickers' out of north Georgia.

    "Here we go all runnin' and a hollerin', we gonna sell some four cent cotton! Hey, hey four cent cotton; Hey, hey four cent cotton."

    "Dance all night with a hole in your stockin', get no more with four cent cotton. Hey hey, four cent cotton..."

    Check out Lowe Stokes-Four Cent Cotton on youtube.


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