Down the road toward harvest
You could get a good idea of the season by looking at my schedule for this week! You wouldn't even need to check the calendar to know that harvest is just around the corner.
I started the week by taking my grain truck to the garage to have the brakes checked. They have been working so-so but need a bit of fluid now and then. They also require one pump before stopping completely. I never trust brakes that are not 100%. I also never trust my mechanical ability when it comes to working on brakes. My truck is 35 years old but with low mileage because I bought it new. It is small by today's standards. However, considering the fact that we only haul grain from nearby fields to bins, it plays an important role in timely harvest.
Later that day I provided transportation to the neighbor who does my harvesting. His combine needed some major maintenance so I took him home after delivering the combine to the local mechanic shop. We work together at harvest so it is in my best interest to help him keep his machinery is top notch condition.
Tuesday I spent most of the day fabricating a guard over the intake end of the auger I use to fill bins. The auger was salvaged from a much longer auger that had lost a battle with a windstorm about ten years ago. I never got around to making a shield for it. After losing a good friend to a farm accident over the Labor Day weekend, that revolving flighting looked like an accident waiting to happen. A few hours with cutting torch and welder eliminated a menace that could have resulted in serious damage to anyone unloading grain at my farm, especially since that would have probably been me.
Wednesday morning I had an appointment at the local NRCS to sign up for the CSP program. That is a subject for a column at a later date. Suffice it to say that with only seven working days left in this sign up period, only three farmers in Cass County have signed up so far.
My interest in new machinery has diminished considerably since I no longer farm on a large scale. Since I found out that a modern electronic guidance system costs more than my biggest tractor is worth, I do not even look at the new paint as I walk by. My interest now is mainly in tools to repair the aged machinery I still use or in visiting with farmers who know me through my marketing activities.
My age probably shows when I tell you that one of the local farm show booths I always visit is sponsored by the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They are a good source of information for persons with the handicap that I share with most of the farmers who are my age. I was told yesterday that I can get a telephone free of charge that is designed for the hearing impaired. I am going to look into that offer because difficulty in communicating by telephone is one of the frustrations I have with being hard of hearing.
It was gratifying that the soybean futures market was able to hold most of what it gained earlier in the week. With the strong seasonal tendency for prices to drop the last half of this month, holding most of what was gained in the rally is an indication that the soybean market is on sound footing. Everywhere I went yesterday the farmers commented on how good the yield prospects are. To have the futures market stay in the upper nine dollar range in the face of the upcoming harvest is surely a positive sign.