Friday, October 06, 2006

And today we harvest beans

Soybeans that is for all who aren't familiar with our particular brand of farming. Yes, the very same beans of which Tofu is made, but not our beans because they are usually genetically engineered, but that is a rant for another day.

For those who may be non farmers, soybeans are picky and unpredictable. They can only be combined if the moisture is just right because honestly, that great big strong combine simply can't cut throught their little pencil thin dried up stalks..yup, believe it or not, it is the truth. Soybeans are a civilized crop. You can't usually start on them until around 10am, or when the dew is gone from the plants and usually as soon as the sun starts to set and the dew comes up from the ground, you are forced to quit because the beans are too tough to cut. When harvesting beans, a farmer can plan to spend the hours between 10am and say 8pm in the combine seat. The other hours are spent delivering beans to the local elevator (we have very little on farm storage for soybeans) repairing things, checking the corn in the grain bins, maintencing the grain bins, they certainly don't sit around this time of year.

Bean yields are unpredictable, a farmer could have the most beautiful looking field of beans, big, strong, strapping healthy beans and they might not yield as well as the shrimpy, short, whimpy beans, believe it, I've seen it happen. In the State of Illinois, national average is between 40-43 bushels per acre. Current price for beans delivered to the local elevator straight from the combine is $5.09 per bushel.

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