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pt756

crop farming question

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hello there, while we have dairy cows and we all know how that's been going for the dairy lately, up then down, and it seems like it takes a chunk of borrowed capital to stay alive in this business lately or you get left behind, how does it work with grain farming? whats  considered full time where a person makes a living, there surely must be times of the year when it gets really slow,  or is a lot of grain farming combined with off farm work the most common.  I realize that there are a lot of variables in this question also depends on a lot of things. at least around here the smaller farms with cows are pretty much disappearing  and as many of us age out there aren't a lot of younger people driving in the driveway wanting to do this, you are starting to see a few more farms listed and stay listed for longer periods, if they sell at all.

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I farm 240 acres in NW Iowa. 2-3 days getting the crop in, 2 days spraying, 3-4 days getting it out. I drive a truck the rest of the time. 

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x2 on above post!

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I used to farm 600 acres and then drove truck at night 60 hours a week, just drive truck now and help out a friend with grain side of his operation while his wife, daughter and son take care of the dairy. Lot more fun driving someone else’s equipment and not worrying over making the right decisions anymore.

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Depends a lot on your personnel situation and if you own any land. Imagine you have 320 acres you own free and clear, possibly inherited. Then rent another 320+ acres. On the owned land you can clear $300/acre plus. That's $96,000 just on the owned land and your wife probably has a job and provides health insurance. So you have 9 months a year to sit in the elevator, drink free coffee, complain about how bad the prices are, and complain about people on welfare that don't work as hard as them.

Now granted a lot of grain farmers are more like IHRondiesel said above which is similar to me. But there are plenty like I described which has given me a very bad opinion about grain farmers in my area.

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14 minutes ago, IH Forever said:

Depends a lot on your personnel situation and if you own any land. Imagine you have 320 acres you own free and clear, possibly inherited. Then rent another 320+ acres. On the owned land you can clear $300/acre plus. That's $96,000 just on the owned land and your wife probably has a job and provides health insurance. So you have 9 months a year to sit in the elevator, drink free coffee, complain about how bad the prices are, and complain about people on welfare that don't work as hard as them.

Now granted a lot of grain farmers are more like IHRondiesel said above which is similar to me. But there are plenty like I described which has given me a very bad opinion about grain farmers in my area.

I agree for the most part...  but there's no guarantee that you'll clear $300/ acre.  But yeah, those who inherited unencumbered land have NOTHING to gripe about, but always seem to gripe the most.

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You definitely need a regular job bringing in a decent income to crop farm a few hundred acres, especially when paying mortgage on some and rent on the rest.

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3 minutes ago, ihfarmer1586 said:

I agree for the most part...  but there's no guarantee that you'll clear $300/ acre.  But yeah, those who inherited unencumbered land have NOTHING to gripe about, but always seem to gripe the most.

No, no guarantee on crop performance....except that you can get 85% revenue coverage so you can guarantee a certain return. In my area 180-250 corn yields are common in all but the worst years. 180 x $3.50 = $630/acre. If you own the land you should easily net $300+.

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🤔  wait a minute. I work full time so that I can farm on the side. My farm cost me about $300/acre. You guys must have better dirt.....😁

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3 minutes ago, IH Forever said:

No, no guarantee on crop performance....except that you can get 85% revenue coverage so you can guarantee a certain return. In my area 180-250 corn yields are common in all but the worst years. 180 x $3.50 = $630/acre. If you own the land you should easily net $300+.

In my area the average is about 140...  a bit easier to pencil out at 200+.

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52 minutes ago, Missouri Mule said:

🤔  wait a minute. I work full time so that I can farm on the side. My farm cost me about $300/acre. You guys must have better dirt.....😁

I know exactly what you're talking about. We're farming the same dirt. I always tell my wife I gotta get up and go to work so I can afford to farm. 

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1 hour ago, IH Forever said:

Depends a lot on your personnel situation and if you own any land. Imagine you have 320 acres you own free and clear, possibly inherited. Then rent another 320+ acres. On the owned land you can clear $300/acre plus. That's $96,000 just on the owned land and your wife probably has a job and provides health insurance. So you have 9 months a year to sit in the elevator, drink free coffee, complain about how bad the prices are, and complain about people on welfare that don't work as hard as them.

Now granted a lot of grain farmers are more like IHRondiesel said above which is similar to me. But there are plenty like I described which has given me a very bad opinion about grain farmers in my area.

Describes my Dad to a T. And the half of his 800 acres that he has to pay rent on is owned by his mother and his sister. I know his rent only hit $100/acre within the last ten years (I don’t know what he actually pays them). My rent is roughly 2.5-3x what his is. 

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1 minute ago, 1466fan said:

I know exactly what you're talking about. We're farming the same dirt. I always tell my wife I gotta get up and go to work so I can afford to farm. 

I drive truck to support my farming habit. 

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  Lot of variables.  I farm a decent amount.  Have on farm storage for all my grain.  We haul it all to the E plants and barge terminals.  Usually do all of our fertilizer and chemical work.  Always have a list of projects in my shop.  Still do a fair amount of tillage.  Then throw in the time I spend doing the book work.  Grain farming you can stay as busy as you want.  They local guys who work off farm generally hire chemicals, fertilizer applied and try to have oversized equipment and that really helps their work load.  Lots of truckers available to haul grain for hire too.  Just depends on your situation.  

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I work for a concrete business along with farming 300 acres. Wouldn't mind farming full time. Land for rent is 250-300+/acre. And any land for sale, well, be ready to shell out anywhere from 10-14k/acre. Those prices are ran up by the guys that have land free and clear, so they justify it by spreading the costs. 

. Would like the opportunity to expand in acreage, but realistically, probably won't happen. So my goal is to keep my operation in the black and keep improving wherever I can (equipment, crop practices,etc)

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I understand that there would be a lot of variables, we are about the 300 acre size, around here in central wis we have more reasonable land , and usually you always have to dry corn gets to about the low 20,s and then its usually November, we hire all the spraying for our corn now for the cows, usually only 150 acres, so takes the coop a few hours, I do see a lot of guys do there own, I guess by the time you spray the fungicide on and maybe some nitrogen it would pay to have your own, the other killer in this is health insurance, I will be 63 in a few days, tax guy said he is paying 24 hundred a month plus 2 6500 dollar deductibles, close to 40 k a year if he uses it all,medicare doesn't look to bad ,we are starting to see 5 to 6 k an acre land the last few years,and generally guys get 50 bushel soybeans and 120 to maybe 150 bushel corn, we had extra the last year and were able to sell it for 3.72 a bushel a few weeks ago, so at my age going onto more debt to acquire more land probably wont happen either. we usually have reasonable costs for corn , manure and starter fertilizer , have never planted soybeans, do see guys in our area having more trouble with white mold lately, getting hard to grow hay lately with the open winters and the rain we are getting tonight, 

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No farmin' but I got a bunch of cows running around. I do them the favor of feeding them hay. In appreciation they convert it to fertilizer so I can grow more hay to feed them. They got it figured out.🐮

My wife is an RN during the day.💉

I drive truck at night because I can't get her to take a second job at night. The last time she agreed to a night job, she also quit her day job, always one step ahead of me😢

It's a darn good life, am jealous of no one and wouldn't have it any other way😀

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11 hours ago, pt756 said:

hello there, while we have dairy cows and we all know how that's been going for the dairy lately, up then down, and it seems like it takes a chunk of borrowed capital to stay alive in this business lately or you get left behind, how does it work with grain farming? whats  considered full time where a person makes a living, there surely must be times of the year when it gets really slow,  or is a lot of grain farming combined with off farm work the most common.  I realize that there are a lot of variables in this question also depends on a lot of things. at least around here the smaller farms with cows are pretty much disappearing  and as many of us age out there aren't a lot of younger people driving in the driveway wanting to do this, you are starting to see a few more farms listed and stay listed for longer periods, if they sell at all.

You won't find too many farms around here no matter what size that one of the spouse's doesn't either have an off farm job or a sideline business.  Some of it is do to additional income to take the stress out of farming, some of it is due to needing health benefits, and some of it is due to the wife just wanting to get off the farm.  We farm 15,000 acres with some of it rangeland and run roughly 200 head of cows.  We also custom farm on the side spraying, seeding, fertilizing, haying and harvesting.  There are three of us plus a little part time help at harvest and when we work cows.  Given you have a decent size grain farm, you can make it a 365 year around job if you want to without livestock.  It might get slow at times but that is what hauling grain is for.  Some guys hire that out and those are the ones that have time to polish machinery during the winter.  

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