Hello Everyone! John Sturtevant has sent us a note about spring on his farm. You'll be interested to see all the different things that farmers have to think about. It's a whole lot more than planting, praying for rain, and harvesting!
This spring is going well. The weather has been a bit of a roller coaster. Really warm temperatures in March had us thinking it would be an early cut year [for alfalfa], but was followed by a cold April. Now, 90+ degrees this week after we had frost three days last week. Some pretty wild swings! The warm weather is great for helping the hay catch up on some growing it needed. Very little rain this spring. The dry land wheat guys must be nervous.
I plowed out the east 60 acres this week in preparation to plant red beans at the end of the month/beginning of June. We start cutting alfalfa on Monday. Tonnage for the crop looks like it will be ok.
The price for first cutting alfalfa is forecast to be somewhat down from 1st cutting last year - maybe $10 to $20 per ton. There is still some of last year's hay sitting around which is depressing the dairy market [dairies buying hay].
The export hay market was slow, then it got even slower when Japan began manipulating their currency in much the same manner that the U.S. has in the past 4 years. This has made the dollar/yen ration unfavorable for exports to Japan.
It looks like the bean market is holding steady. I guess everybody is waiting to see what the corn market does. If a record corn crop comes off this fall as some are prediciting, then prices for most commodities will fall. One negative weather event could change that, though. I heard one analyst say that we are entering into a three-year down-cycle in commodity prices as world stocks increase.
I think snowpack in the mountains as adequate this winter, so there shouldn't be any water problems here.
That's the end of John's report.
See? Farmers have to think about national and international commodity markets, currency fluctuations and exchange rates, and a whole bunch more!
If you have any questions for John about his operation, how he makes is plans for the year, or anything else, please feel free to ask in the comments section!