If someone tells you to never look a gift horse in the mouth, then that’s exactly what you should do. The same holds true when making your next land purchase. No stone should be left unturned when operating in the sellers’ market as we are presently. Of course, no matter the market, here at Halderman we want to make sure you’re investing in land that will not only meet but also exceed your expectations from a production and return standpoint.
Here are our tips on when and how to scout for your next land purchase:
As the summer heat continues to beat down, the land is showing its true colors. This is the perfect time to be looking at land intended for production. Late summer is usually when moisture is at its lowest, so you’ll get an accurate picture of how that land handles a dry or drought-like situation. Of course, corn in August is 10 feet tall so using a drone to view the crop from 200-300 feet overhead is a significant advantage.
Asking simple “what if” questions can help you decide what you’re willing to do to make a piece of land profitable for your operation. Will I need to invest in additional irrigation? What if I tore out those trees? What if I changed the crop in this field? What if I put in a pond? Based on the state of the foliage on the land, you’ll also get a good feel for the soil composition. Of course, taking soil samples never hurts if you truly want to know what you’re working with in terms of soil fertility, organic matter, and productive capacity.
Depending on how the land has been taken care of, this time of year will also reveal where you might be able to gain some additional tillable acres. If some areas of the land are overgrown and simply underutilized, the fall and winter months are the best time to clear the area in preparation for spring planting. Scouting out land now will give you ample time to create an optimized game plan for the land in the next growing season. You’ll be able to carry out that game plan with plenty of time to spare before dropping seeds in the ground. Before deciding to clear land, we recommend taking an inventory of the wildlife in the area and gaining approvals from USDA and any other governmental agencies necessary. Your game plan might include preserving those areas, which is also a great thing to take care of in the fall and winter months.
Buying a farm in a tight market is hard. Fall tends to be a period of transition as one crop season ends. If a landowner is thinking of selling, now is the time. Therefore, you might find more available farms in the supply chain. The price might not change, but you will have more options to consider. Of course, there’s never a bad time to buy land, but if there ever was an ideal time it would be at the end of summer.
Call your local Halderman Area Representative or our main office at 800-424-2324 to talk about your specific needs, your property, and your options.