Today was the last day of an unusual harvest. We have never been completely done with harvest by August 21. Most years we start our 5-6 week harvest around August 10th. This year we began harvesting winter peas on July 23rd. Despite the early start and just four weeks of harvest, it seemed to drag on this year. According to the calendar, we are nowhere near time to finish harvest. Somehow, the fact that we were rolling through the fields didn’t register in our brains. It still felt like we should have a long way to go before we finished.
The exceptionally hot June and July with little to no rain meant our spring crops didn’t have the moisture they needed to produce average yields. The lack of June rains also reduced our fall wheat yield. Since we have been farming for 40 years, we understand the rhythm of farming. Some years are wonderful, some are not. We have seen fluctuations like this in the past. One year will be a drought and the next will bring too much rain. We’ll just have to wait and see what the next year brings.
The end of harvest signals the beginning of a new crop year. We had one employee out working ground to prepare it for fall seeding right after the field was harvested. This forward looking attitude helps us keep the fluctuations of yield and market prices in perspective. If nothing else, most farmers are an optimistic bunch. They are always looking forward to the next crop year, its potential, and how to best use their resources to deliver the best crop possible given the conditions that Mother Nature provides.
The conversation around our field dinner last night revolved around plans for fall seeding and, ideas for different crops. As the combines head back to the shop, the attention has already shifted to the new year.