Heavy rains and late snow had many planting later than usual. How do you anticipate this year’s harvest going following a late spring this year? Have service needs changed this year compared to other years?
“In my experience, whatever happens in spring carries through to harvest. With this year’s late planting and ground conditions not optimal, I believe this harvest season is going to be a challenge and likely a long one.
“Perhaps most concerning, the ground conditions will likely lead to some equipment breakdowns and issues. That no doubt will put stress on our customers, as well as our service departments.
“The hope, of course, is that we don’t see much of that. But we have to be prepared for it — we are and we’re seeing our customers start to prepare, too. For example, in some areas, a lot are starting to switch their combines from dual tires to tracks; others are adding 4WD to the rear if it’s not there already.
“When there is an equipment issue, ideally, we fix the problem and get the machine back out into the field. But there are those cases where it’s not an easy fix and a machine is going to be down for a longer period of time. In those situations, we get them a loaner or rental so they can get back into the field. That’s just how we do business, not only in challenging years, but every year.
“It’s not something we want to see our customers go through, but I will say — when it comes to difficult seasons, like how this harvest is shaping up to be, our team really steps up. We understand the conditions and equipment challenges our customers are dealing with and we do what we can to help them, being ready to respond when they need us.”
— Wylie Geyer, Division Manager of Ag Aftermarket, RDO Equipment Co., Fargo, N.D.
“We had a good early seeding season in southern Alberta, but got hit hard with hail and a tornado. Some customers lost 100% of their crop so very poor harvest. A lack of equipment usage is hitting service and sales.”
— Steve Pearce, Service Sales Manager, Rocky Mountain Equipment, Taber, Alta.
“Yields have been down drastically. This has been one of the worst years for rice farming in many years. Our business has seen a constant downward trend over the last few years due to farming trending down also. This years harvest has shown to be very detrimental to service.”
— Roger Mallett, Sales Manager, Abell & Son, Inc., Welsh, La.
“Seeding in southern Saskatchewan started on time but conditions were extremely dry to the point of critical until we received mid-June rains which helped crop growth but also germinated a lot of dormant seeds due to the dry conditions. Thus most producers are experiencing crops that are mixed with ripe ready to harvest plants and also dead green still growing. This is presenting a huge challenge as harvest started about 2-3 weeks later than normal.
“After most producers were just getting going with about 8-10% crop off we received a week of rain ranging from 3-4 plus inches which not only has held up harvest but also prevented a lot of that green crop from maturing. The rain has certainly caused the crop to degrade with reports of sprouting, bleaching and loss of quality. This weekend we are to experience a number of days where the temperature will drop to –3 to –5 C putting an end to anything still growing and likely add to the loss of quality.
“On the service side the previous 2 years have been very easy harvests. Last years harvest was already completed by this time. We currently are only around 30-35% complete. The wet weather and tougher conditions with the green material is going to be a lot tougher on machinery as we try to get this crop off before snow settles in. We will likely see more wear and tear and damage as farmers push much harder with shorter days and less than ideal drying conditions. We are also to receive more rain towards the end of this week and possible snow in the forecast.
“Customers have held back on repairs through last winter and this year due to the uncertainty of this crop which is further fueled by the Canada/China trade disputes on many of our agricultural crops.”
— Brent Bazin, Corporate Service Manager, Young’s Equipment, Regina, Sask.
“September has been quite a blessing so far. Our beans planted in the last week of June look good and will be safe from frost the first week of October. Our corn is finishing strong. It is possible we will have average bean yields which is great considering two thirds of the beans were planted the last week of June and probably only slightly below average corn yields. We took prevented plant on 15% of our acres.”
— John Wallbrown, Owner, Deerfield Ag Services, Deerfield, Ohio
“Planting was very late this year. Some said after 4th of July and some did plant after that date. Crops are poor at best.”
— Lloyd miller & Sons, Inc., Corunna, Mich.
“It’s all weather dependent. If October and November are wet, cold, early frost, some crops won’t mature and rutting will occur, all of which increases breakdown. If it’s normal, or dryer/warmer than normal, we might get a chance to use the cab heater rather than the ac and things will progress pretty smoothly with thanksgiving dinner in the field.
“Drying capacity will dictate, but I’d expect longer than normal harvest hours per day, whenever conditions allow, to get as much done before inclement weather. That increases fatigue and safety issues.
“Service: Again, with the shortened calendar window, everything will be more urgent, so hopefully, dealers will support, rather than add to the farmers stress, with incremental hours, building goodwill.
“Could be a race to the freeze.”
— Bill Schmidtgall, Manager, Koenig Equipment, Morton, Ill.
“Our growers are seeding winter wheat in the AM and harvesting in the PM. While out of the ordinary and stressful both jobs are getting done. Biggest issue is the low price of wheat.”
— Brian Hoven, President, Hoven Equipment Co., Great Falls, Mont.
“As fall approaches, much of the corn in this area is still about 2 weeks behind. It has been 80-plus degrees here the last couple days, more in the 80s as the week progresses. Trees are already losing leaves, turning color.Caterpillars are different color(s) I think than any I have ever seen, for whatever that means (grandfather used to watch that?)
“Some corn looks real good. Some terrible, already disked up, or I think will get chopped for silage. Grandfather (again) used to say, if you make it to Sept. 15th without frost, you’re good until Oct. 15th. If we make it to Oct. 15th, without too much rain, all should be good. Will have to see what the ‘Lady’ upstairs has in store for us.
“You can always tell the harvest once it is in the bin.”
— Gene Saville, Used Equipment Coordinator, LandPro Equipment, Falconer, N.Y.
“We had a normal planting date for approximately one half of our corn crop and then a month or more for a late second half of planting. We did have pretty optimum growing conditions throughout the summer and a large portion of the corn crop appears to be very good.
“We will be starting into corn silage chopping beginning next week. I’ll have a better idea then on maturity and tonnage.
“The hay crop was very good with most customers now having completed a fourth cutting. I’m anticipating a fifth cutting towards the end of October depending on corn harvest weather conditions. Currently we are dry.
“Milk price has improved slightly positively influencing our large equipment sales both new and used to the larger dairy’s.”
— Travis Northrop, Owner Group, The Hudson River Tractor Co. LLC, Fultonville, N.Y.
“Here in southwest Missouri corn harvest is in full swing and yields are great, soybeans are on track to be above average.”
— Kenny Bergman, Corporate Sales/Operations Manager, S&H Farm Supply, Lockwood, Mo.
“Our crops are 30 days behind and need heat, customers are very cautious until crops are in the bins, they are hoping for a decent result if the weather co operates but they are predicting an early winter which will be bad for all.
“Our service shop has been the slowest it has been for many years for this time of year.”
— Alex Lush, Store Manager, Connect Equipment Corp., Kitchener, Ont.
“In eastern Ontario we had a wet and cold spring and when things started to warm up it got dry. Estimates are that 15-20% of our acreage did not get planted. The crop (beans and corn) that did get planted is below average. I have heard the expected yield will be 85-90% of the eastern Ontario average.
“Harvest for most will not start until early October (beans) and mid to late November for corn. We need until mid-October before some corn will reach maturity. Fortunately, as I send you this note, the forecast is that it will remain warm for the next couple of weeks. Harvest moisture levels will be higher as well. Typically our corn comes off at about 22-25% moisture and will probably be 10% higher than that this year.
“Our service has been steady.”
— Andy Svetec, President, Bob Mark New Holland Sales Ltd., Lindsay, Ont.
“The harvest in northeast Montana is definitely late. In most years, guys are in the fields around the end of July or beginning of August and this year we have people that literally just started. With that being said, the heavy rains have caused more problems for good in an area where we have a drought over the past two years.
“With the late planting, the amount of crop that did not ripen evenly is amazing. The rains have caused a large majority of the wheat, durum, lentils, and chick peas to sprout in the heads or the pods. The yield is phenomenal, the best that most have ever had, but the quality is terrible.
“The rain has changed people's service needs drastically. With low commodity prices and low crop quality, people are doing way more of their own service work instead of having dealers do it. The farmers usually will only have dealers do their service work of they are a very large farm, or if it is something they can't do without a laptop.”
— Kasey Olson, Service Manager, Willie’s Farm Repair, Scobey, Mont.