(HOI) — Farmers were hitting the fields hard last week while the weather was cooperating.
I was able to ride along with Mike Hoeft in the combine while he discussed why he’s just now harvesting in late October.
“On a typical harvest day I’m out of bed at 4 o’ clock in the morning and I’m on the road at 4:15 a.m.. I get to my farm shop and I’m usually working before 5:30 in the morning,” said Hoeft.
In order to be as productive as possible, Hoeft has to make sure everything’s ready to go before his guys show up at 7 a.m.
“On a normal day during a normal harvest, between the combine and the couple of tractors and semis that are running, were going to use 3- 400 gallons of fuel in a given day,” Hoeft said.
Once everyone arrives at the field, they split up and get to work. Everyone has to do their part in order for things to run smoothly meaning breaks are limited.
“We don’t stop except to relieve yourself out of the cab. We bring all of our lunches with us and all the supplies we need for the day. Then by 6-6:30 at night, we’re getting pretty tired,” said Hoeft.
As the days continue to swiftly pass and the frost potential on the horizon, Hoeft is spending as many hours as possible in the fields. He has been facing struggles through the season and harvest is no different.
“I’m trying to get through this as quickly and efficiently as I can. I just came off an eight-day downtime delay from machinery breakage. That’s a real punch in the gut when you are trying to hurry and trying to go and your machinery lets you down,” Hoeft said.
With some fields completed earlier this month, Hoeft said he’s disappointed.
“We are about 10-15 percent lower than what our expectations were. So, we have a shorter crop and prices are lower than what we expected. You carry crop insurance but it doesn’t solve the problem. it just takes the edge off. It’s better to have a massive failure than to have a crop that is 15 percent off what it should be. The highest crop insurance I can buy is 85 percent level, so that 15 percent you just lost was your profit, said Hoeft.