A local TV station broadcasts a wonderful farm show Sunday mornings at 9:30, which is fortunate since church does not start until 10:30. Two brothers whose passion is farming host the show. Their show covers seeds and weeds, tillage and tiling.
During last Sunday's episode, the brothers told of their recent trip to the Ukraine, Russia's farming region. The Ukraine, according to the brothers, has deep black soil, favorable climate and the latest in American machinery. But there is a reason why they will not produce at the levels of U.S. agriculture.
The reason is that Russian agriculture still has the attitude from its Communist past. There are people assigned to plant, other people to spray and other people for harvesting. The problem is that nobody is responsible.
The brothers pointed out that in America, farmers watch each other and nobody wants to be behind. It is our own competitiveness that makes us excel. Besides, nobody wants his neighbors to laugh at him.
This brings us to today when the weigh wagon arrived to measure my corn yield. The weigh wagon was scheduled for 10:00 and arrived at 9:30. I told him I was not quite ready and wondered if he had somewhere to go for a while. He said he did and I could call him when ready. I told him I was looking for the "sweet spot" in the cornfield.
I had a spot east of the trees where I thought things would be especially good and opened it up. For a yield check, it needed to be 1.5 acres and square in shape. I took out the end rows and squared the piece off for measuring. I needed 102 rows, 255 feet long.
I called the man with the weigh wagon and told him I was ready. Twenty minutes later, he showed up and put flags in place to mark the area. Now it was up to me.
In my life I have signed the mortgages for 650 acres of farmland, been the groom at two weddings, raised three children to adulthood and owe the bank enough money that I hope to live long enough to pay it off, and I was more nervous combining those 1.5 acres than I had been for any of those other things.
I drove slowly to get every ear of corn and kept the corn head as low as I dared without picking up a rock (that happened last week). Each tip of the corn head snoots hovered just above the ground. When an infrequent ear of corn bounced out of the corn head and fell to the ground, I had a sinking feeling that I had just shortchanged myself in a good outcome.
The alarm sounded letting me know my bin was full and I stopped right now rather than risk running the bin over from being too full and losing some of corn on the ground. I drove gingerly to the wagon because any lurching of the combine could result in corn spilling out of the full bin.
I positioned the unloading auger directly over the center of the wagon so every kernel would go in the wagon. When the area was harvested and I emptied the last corn into the wagon, I made sure the combine bin completely emptied itself in the wagon by running the unloading auger longer than usual.