Weather wise, the Ohio Valley did not have excessive in snow fall in February, but we set new record low temperatures. Many people commented that as cold as this February was, it felt more like January weather! A number of schools closed on consecutive days, due to the extreme cold temperatures.
Will it be a late spring? Perhaps not. A number of farm projects farmers try to accomplish in February did not get done this year. This may delay farm work as we head into spring. When the calendar turns to March, we all hope for some consistently better weather!
Results from our winter auctions show land values are holding steady for average and above average land. Below average land values may have dropped 5 – 10%. There are fewer farms on the market this winter versus the number of farms for sale last year at this time. This may be one of the reasons that land prices are stable.
As a Farm Manager I have been busy working on the new farm program. The early work was concentrated on updating yield and planted acreage histories at the USDA office for 2008 through 2012 crop years. This is the first opportunity to update yields since 2002. That work needed to be completed by February 27, 2015. The selection of which new farm program choice needs to be finalized by March 31. The majority of eastern cornbelt farmers have chosen (Agricultural Risk Coverage) ARC-Co. If you haven’t decided which option is best for your farm, there are several websites designed to aid you.
Tile drainage and tile outlets are so important. Late winter and early spring is an excellent time to check your outlets and look for drains that need repaired. We recently installed a new 12” tile main on a farm I manage. It crossed a neighboring farm in order to give us an outlet to an open ditch. Our farm has 105 acres that needs to be drained and the new outlet was the place to start. Now with it completed, we can begin to tile the cropland for better drainage and improved yields.