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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Stuck in the Mud...and Snow!

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on April 16, 2014

    Ten days away from our average start date, we finally made it to the field. But not with any tractors or tillage. We have been doing maintenance on some neglected ditches and ditch banks. I felt kind of dumb when I got my truck stuck showing the tree cutters where to go. I guess dad must have had some sympathy for me as he stuck his truck a few days later not 500 feet from where I got hung up. With that said, obviously, there are a few places we will have to wait for some drying before we can…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Planting Progress Reports From the Field

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on April 9, 2014

    Friday we left for a short weekend in Nashville, Tenn. What was supposed to be a two-of-us getaway turned in to a four-of-us getaway – ultimately all of us. Rachael and I had planned on going to the Women's Final Four NCAA Basketball Championship. (No, even with our proximity to Notre Dame, we are not fans, though it is enjoyable to watch the women play.) We have attended the finals a couple times before. We are both basketball referees here in Indiana. Refreshed, nearly a month…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Is Mother Nature Pranking Us?

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on April 2, 2014

    It seems even Mother Nature got in on April Fool's Day this year. She tempted us to believe it is actually spring. Monday it was nearly 60 and Tuesday it was in the mid 50s. I heard some light field work was ongoing. We were able to fight our way through a software update and get a drain put up to my grandparents' old house. Spring prep continues. We have received most of our seed. Some 28% was delivered, as was most crop protection products. Shipments of parts come on nearly a daily…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Evaluating a New Non-GMO Corn Marketing Opportunity

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on March 26, 2014

    Last week, we received a well-intentioned email from one of our seed suppliers. It pointed to a new market for some of our non-gmo corn crops. At first glance it looked good. The offer was made by a third party to host a reverse auction. A reverse auction works exactly as you would think – start at the max bid and go down, the lowest offer wins. They were seeking 15,000 bushels of #2 yellow non-GMO corn. The delivery location was nearby. We thought this could work. Then we read…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Why Can't Soybeans Reach Corn-like Yields?

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on March 19, 2014

    A couple of weeks ago, I attended a conference on producing high-yielding soybeans. The event was sponsored by the Michigan Soybean Board and the Indiana Soybean Alliance. The focus was on answering the following questions: Why haven't soybean yields gone up like corn?  What is limiting our production? The first and most talked about issue was disease. Soybean cyst nematode and white mold topped the list. Experts encouraged sending soil samples for cyst testing. Additionally, the…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Breaking Down Crop Insurance Choices

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on March 12, 2014

    As I mentioned a while back, we are changing crop insurance underwriters this year.  As it turns out, our agent suggested we part ways, so we are "interviewing" agents.  The addition of many private products and riders hasn't made choices any easier. Let's start with the basics: the premiums for federal crop insurance are the same no matter where you chose to purchase it. One agent this week gave the stat that the producer (farmer) pays on average 38% of the…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Cut Costs But Maintain Yields

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on March 5, 2014

    OK, I've been a good little farmer man lately, reading the magazine and newspaper articles as they come. I've seen a few articles, more or less dealing with the topic of "cutting corners" as far as inputs and crop expenses go. Some ideas and survey responses include using generic chemicals, cutting fertilizer, no starter, no insecticide, downscale or eliminate seed treatments, and going away from traits. This has bothered me. I just don't understand. Writers stop short…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    The Next Four Weeks Determine How Planting Goes

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on February 19, 2014

    Everything we do in the next few weeks will have a direct impact on how smoothly planting goes. Farm equipment maintenance is probably the biggest factor that we can control. Shop work is not at the top of my list of preferred duties, but I do it because of its importance. Every tractor, planter, and most tillage equipment will come through the shop doors before spring. Each piece of farm machinery will be serviced, inspected and repaired to like-new status. Wear parts are always in the mix…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Crop Insurance Nightmare

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on February 12, 2014

    Well this goes on the list of things I have felt like doing, but will probably never do. I'll do my best at keeping this long story brief. It was a long fall dealing with crop insurance. The story begins in 2011 when I rented additional ground in St. Joseph county. As normal, since the ground was not irrigated, I insured it using that entity (I had no other dryland ground in the county, I was already farming land under my irrigated entity). This has been our common practice for nearly…

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  • Kyle Stackhouse

    Winter Wreaks Havoc on Operations

    Between the Fencerows

     by Kyle Stackhouse
     on February 6, 2014

    As this difficult winter continues, we are shifting gears and getting to work in the shop. After spending December and January on the 'necessary evils' of business operations, most years February is when the realization comes that we need to get some stuff done. A lot of equipment is snowed in or frozen down. Today we were able to get the parts of a new tillage tool in the shop for assembly during the next snow storm. Though Rachael keeps asking me if there is somewhere warmer we could…

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