It's a year that's "middling," says Curtis Sims of Emeline Farms between MacGregor and Austin. He refers to the time that farmers can start in their fields for 2023 season -- not very early or late.
Sims says they're currently working at getting their equipment ready for the fields, with drills practically done.
"It's the last check-overs before you go to the field, and there's always the odd thing when you get there that you missed. So, we try and get the startup going. It won't be just immediately, but next week sometime, we hope. We'll at least start putting fertilizer on."
He notes last year was incredibly late due to the weather, having put it at the end of May before they started with all the water on the ground.
"There are years we've had quite a bit of crop in April, even. So, this one looks like kind of middling, I guess."
Sims explains frost is still in the ground beneath water pockets in the fields and they're waiting for that to melt.
"Some of them have diminished over the last couple of days between the heat taking frost out," says Sims. "So, the water is starting to go. We're starting to get just a little bit restless."
He farms grain including corn, soybeans, wheat, and canola principally.
"So far, it looks, production-wise, like a pretty decent year," continues Sims. "At this stage, things should go all right. Grain prices have certainly been on a bit of a slide compared to what they were. The other help is that nitrogen fertilizer has come down a fair bit, too, so that helps. As an optimistic farmer, we'll carry on and we'll get along with a little luck. We'll do well enough to keep the world going."
Regarding fertilizers, Sims explains phosphate really hasn't changed much and remains quite pricey.
"The potash has come down a certain amount and nitrogen has actually dropped quite a lot," adds Sims. "It was astronomical. So now, it's not all the way back, but closer to what it would have been a couple of years ago before this tremendous price spike, partly because of the Russians and other things like that."
Sims notes in real bad times, there's crop insurance.
"We collected some crop insurance last year with all the water," says Sims. "So, that's the sort of regular backup plan. If something really crazy happens, then we have in the past, and would maybe expect some government support. What we're seeing now isn't particularly out of the ordinary, assuming the weather is reasonable and nothing really crazy happens in the world. It looks like a kind of a typical farming year. There's always some uncertainty that you don't know about. That's the name of the game in farming. You can't predict everything, but you sort of do what seems to make sense, and as long as you win more than you lose, I guess you're still here."
Sims says he hopes for a good year and to be able to carry on. He gives advice to other farmers:
"Don't push yourself too hard with the seeding," adds Sims. "Get some rest and pace yourself a little bit. We'll get it in, eventually. Fatigue is a problem. So, just pace yourself a little bit."