April 20, 2024

From the Fields: Yields beyond expectation

Isabella Chism

How can every harvest be so similar and yet completely different? The goal is always the same — get everything through the combine and into bins, and yet there are so many circumstances that come into play. This year, our soil started out moisture deficient, like many of the areas around the state.

Our entire growing season continued that trend with very little rainfall. Some days we only knew that we had some rain because it was on our windshields. There wasn’t enough to measure in the rain gauge. And yet our crops seem to have done amazingly well. We have had yields beyond expectation.

We had very little weed and disease pressure. I believe that we, just like most farmers, do our best to take care of our crops, and then we trust God to take care of the rest. This year, it seems to have worked in ways we don’t understand and are thankful for.

At the time I am writing this, we have finished our soybean harvest and are approximately 50% through our corn harvest. Although our yields seem very good, corn harvest is a bit of a challenge. The challenge in this case is being able to take the corn somewhere after it’s been harvested.

Most farmers in our area are experiencing the same bountiful harvest. However, our elevators do not have enough drying capacity for this year’s crop. Because of that, we have experienced long lines and wait times. To some, this might seem like complaining, but it is the reality.

There is no reason to complain because there is nothing we can do at this point in time to change it. So, we wake up every day to get as much corn harvested before the snow and frost and get it hauled somewhere as soon as possible.

We have completed our soil tests for this year. We test our bean ground each year after that harvest is complete. We rotate soybeans and corn every year. We have already purchased our seed for next year, and our P and K has been applied.

Once we finish harvest, we will complete any fall tillage that is left. We also will clean and put away the equipment. This sounds so simple, but it’s such a big job. By the time we are cleaning up equipment, the weather has gotten bad, and no one wants to pressure wash the combine, grain cart or the semis, but it must be done. Everything gets prewashed, washed with soap, dried and waxed before it’s put away. Clean equipment retains its value longer.

We also will spend time reviewing the results of our test plot data, yield data, trials on fungicides and so forth. We need to know what worked and what didn’t in this year’s conditions. We will plan any tiling and take time to talk to our landlords. We stay in constant communication with them throughout the growing season.

Fall is such a busy time. We are harvesting our crops, trying to remain flexible with the weather and attend Farm Bureau meetings at the county, state and national level. I have spent some time in Washington, D.C., for an American Farm Bureau Federation board meeting, as well as helping to facilitate the AFBF Women’s Communication Boot Camp.

It is always amazing to watch the growth of the women who participate over a four-day period. It is such a privilege to be a part of something so life-changing. The women that apply and commit to this program graduate with increased confidence, the tools they need to tell their story in the media and an understanding of the importance of advocating for agriculture at all levels.

Advocacy is in everything we do so we make sure they understand to be intentional about the stories they tell and who they are telling them to. When we were raising our children, we talked about teachable moments never realizing that we will continue to have these for the rest of our lives. At Boot Camp, we talk about all moments being opportunities to advocate for agriculture.

Finally, I look forward to our Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention coming up Dec. 14-16 in Fort Wayne because it gives us all a chance to reconnect as an agriculture community after our harvest has been completed.

As I look toward Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family and friends, our agriculture network and the opportunity to serve with so many wonderful people to protect and enhance the future of agriculture and our communities.

Isabella Chism

Isabella Chism

Galveston, Ind.