For the crop we grew in 2012, we spent $250,000 on fertilizer, give or take a little. We wrote checks for $150,000 for seed. We spent $50,000 to kill weeds and insects.
We watch the crop grow. We pray. We can even buy insurance against weather like hail or yield in general. But in the end, we depend on the weather. And we have a lot of money sitting out in those fields.
As a kid, the world stopped at 10:15 p.m. when the weather came on. Everyone was quiet so Mom and Dad could watch the weather. Now, of course, we check the weather any time online, which is to say we do it almost reflexively. Before he carried an iPad to the tractor, John would call me from the field to have me pull up the radar.
And it seems, from my personal experience, that nothing quite gets the blood pressure up so fast as a mid-season thunderstorm. The threat of wind is prominent. Two years ago, we lay in bed during a late June thunderstorm, listening to the wind and praying the corn wasn't flat. By the time morning broke, we were so concerned about the corn standing and relieved to see that it was ok that at first we didn't even notice the trampoline looked like a pretzel on acid in the backyard.
And of course, 2012 brought the drought we'll talk about for generations. It was a slow-percolating panic, as each week passed and each front dissipated before it reached us. Worry gave way to general malaise. There was nothing to do about it. We can lay out the money, we can plant the seed but we can't make it rain.
It is what it is, and we have to roll with it.
The archives: 30 Days on a Prairie Farm
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