It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a 7-day weather report like todays: sunny, and warmer! I’m almost scared to check it again, just in case ‘they’ change their minds. Farmers will be happy – it was pretty disheartening after just three days of combining to get that half inch of rain again. There’s a lot of crop still out there.
Rod Fisher of Westlock Terminals said last week the wheat would all be feed. Yesterday he told me, somewhat surprised, that the hard red spring wheat held up better than he thought. Loren is hoping his wheat will at least make a no. 3.
We’re hearing reports of some excellent yields – some are harvesting 100 bushels of CPS wheat per acre. I know some guys did some forward pricing at excellent levels. So it looks like the farmers in this area will survive another year.
We ran into some trouble with the grain bagger last week. Mike Kikkernik, who runs the grain cart and bagger, was quite upset when he got a tear in the bag for the second time, wheat spilling out on the ground. It seems that with the cold weather we had, the bag was not stretching as easily as usual. No one likes wheat on the ground – the bag can be repaired, costing time of course, but the biggest issue is that even a few wheat kernels attract deer, rodents and coyotes behind them. That means more holes in the bag.
Loren plans to empty those bags as soon as possible, putting the grain through the dryer.
Saturday I plugged the unloading auger. There was nothing for it but to drain most of that two thirds full grain tank to the ground. I was thinking of all the bread I could bake with that pile, and then told our crew that in Zambia, soon as the field was clear, that grain would quickly disappear.
One Zambian farmer told us that he would go check on the combine operator in the field. It could happen that as soon as his back was turned, the operator would call his ‘friends’ on the cell phone, then the next full hopper would unload to the ground. Within a short time that pile would be gone to the last kernel and no one would be the wiser. He began hiring young high school boys to sit at the edges of his field as monitors, to call him when they saw something suspicious. (Could they be bribed from the other side too?)
I guess, seen from a hungry villager’s point of view, what’s a hopper or two or three to a rich farmer who has so much? That villager doesn’t understand what makes up a farmer’s financial records, that often as much as comes in quickly goes out again. It’s totally beyond their comprehension.