During planting and harvest season, we see large farming equipment in the fields and on the roads.
But where do the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery go in the winter?
Most people think during the winter, farmers either go on vacation or sit in local coffee shops talking about their product.
And while that may be true for some farmers, others choose to spend their time fixing and taking care of their livelihood.
“It’s a year round job,” says Larry Turner, a local farmer. “I have two people who help me. We have something to do every day. Whether it’s haul grain or work on machinery.”
When the fields are bare and the animals are still, Wabash Valley farmers, like Larry Turner, are still hard at work with valuable machinery needing attention.
“That’s why we work on it in the wintertime,” says Turner. “Cause when we go to the field, you don’t want break downs. Cause that’s so costly at that point in time. Now, if you something broke, if you have to order the part, you’ve got time.”
Time is a valuable concept to farmers.
Farmers use their time now, to plan ahead for a successful year.
And for Turner, this is the part he most enjoys.
“I’d say that’s the part I liked the most,” says Turner. “I like to be in here.”
Many of us in the Valley operate on deadlines, but for farmers, that deadline normally comes on May first.
“You can’t wait until that time to get your machinery ready,” says Turner. “Everything’s got to go. When the ground gets dry, we’re out there. We’re hitting it.”
Farmers don’t do this job all on their own.
Seed companies also play a significant role in the success of farmers and their crops.
And the crops need to be in the ground to hope for a good yield come harvest.
“This is the time of year when everybody is making decisions for this years coming crop,” says Shane McCullough, branch manager of Ceres Solutions. “A lot of decisions have already been made.”
So while farm equipment is currently undergoing repairs, it’s all in an effort to save money in the long run and to turn a good crop.
“You know, it’s just key trying to get that variety [of seed] on the right soil,” says McCullough. “The right fertility program. The right chemistry. You’re just trying to get the best yield out of every acre.”
A lot of farmers here in the Valley are also doing soil tests on their land and maybe even doing some tilling.
But even in the winter, the work of a farmer does depend on mother nature quite a bit.
Farmers do play an incredibly important role in our community, that’s for sure.