What do you guys do in the winter? This is a question that we get too often as it seems that the majority of people think that a farm schedule resembles the acronym on our pickup trucks. 4x4, 4 weeks in the spring for planting followed by 4 weeks in the fall for harvesting. If you have been around a farm operation you know that this is not the case, but definitely a question that we need to address, as the winter months can be just as busy around here as it is during the growing season.
At Nidlinger Farms Inc (NFI) the winter months are filled with machinery maintenance, business and strategy planning, data analysis, professional development and education, delivery of grain, as well as some needed family time.
As soon as the last grain is harvested and the last fertilizer and lime is spread, we switch to clean up mode. Harvest equipment is power-washed, soaped, and even waxed. Fluids are changed and any needed maintenance is performed before the equipment is put into the storage sheds. We take pride in keeping our fleet of equipment in excellent mechanical and physical shape. This helps to minimize our in-season repairs as well as maintains the value of our equipment. The shop will stay busy throughout the winter as every piece of equipment is ran through to be inspected and serviced. Planters are an essential piece of our operation, as any mistake at planting can be detrimental to successful yields. So, special attention is given to planter maintenance during these winter months.
Many hours are spent in the office during the winter months analyzing agronomic and financial information, as well as creating a business plan for the following crop year. We analyze varietal and hybrid information as well as different treatment options that we experimented with during the prior crop year. We sift through the large amounts of data that we collected from as-planted, as-applied, and harvest maps to determine what products were successful.
Winter months are also a time for education. We spend time at management meetings, agronomy meetings, as well as financial meetings to keep up on the latest trends and techniques. By being on the cutting edge, utilizing and testing new technologies, we feel that we can be better stewards and managers.
As the markets dictate, some grain is moved off the farm during the winter months. Non-GMO soybeans are taken to be cleaned and processed for the export market. Commercial soybeans and corn may also be moved if our end-users need them during this time frame.
The growing season can create some stress on family life because of the long hours involved. The winter months allow us time together with our family. Weather it be watching football and basketball games, or enjoying a family vacation of snow-skiing or possibly heading south to warmer weather. We treasure the time the colder weather brings us to spend with the ones we love.