Thursday, November 3, 2011

A New Combine

We purchased a new combine during harvest, well not exactly new but new to us.  It is a 2004 model and our old one was a 2000 model.  Both are New Holland brand combines.  The old one was breaking down about every other day and the dealer gave us a good deal on trade for this newer one so we took it.  It was delivered on the 20th and made the last of harvest go so much smoother.  When new combines run from $200,000 to $300,000 it is a big deal to get a new one.  When you spend as much as a small house even on a used combine it is a really big deal!IMG_4983
The truck that it was delivered on was really interesting.  To get the combine on and off the trailer the bed was lowered to the ground and the truck unhooked from it and driven away then the combine just drove off.  They loaded the old combine on and re-hooked up the truck.  Pretty slick!IMG_5068
Photo op. in front of the new combine for John and I before it gets all dirty.  This will be the last new combine we own before we retire unless something happens to this one to make it not usable.  We won’t be retiring for several more years yet though so it must last.IMG_5134
This is the new combine on it’s first run through the field across the road from our house.  It worked well to finish up harvest with a couple of small breakdowns – a bearing went out once and a chain broke on the corn head but wear and tear on machines is expected, especially since this is a used combine.  When I say corn head I mean the pointy things that gather the corn and feed it into the combine.  You can buy different heads for combines to do different things.  We had to buy a new corn head for this new combine as the old one didn’t fit but was able to keep the old wheat head we use to combine soybeans.  It has a reel that helps to bring the beans and wheat into the head then into the feederhouse where it is shelled out.  It will have to be retrofitted this winter though so it can be used next harvest on this combine.  There are also bean heads and we have one but plan to sell it this winter as we can’t use it on this combine.

Of course these heads all come separately and cost and arm and a leg too.  If you are going to be a farmer you have to have a lot of money invested in machinery with all the tractors, grain carts, planters, disc, stock chopper, trucks, cultivators, fertilizer rigs, etc. to name a few.  You just can’t farm without this equipment so that is one reason farmers in the US farm so many acres.  We need many acres to pay for the equipment and other inputs so when we sell the grain we can hopefully make a profit. 

Input estimates that John has made for next year total $500 an acre for corn which includes seed cost, fertilizer, crop insurance, chemicals such as herbicide and insecticide and irrigation energy to water the crop.  So you can see when we farm almost 1000 acres of corn it adds up in a hurry.  This sounds like a lot to farm when you add in the 500 acres of soybeans but in our area we are medium to smaller farmers.  We have been lucky corn prices have stayed up to be more than a break even proposition to farm but there have been many years where we really didn’t make much at all after all the costs were taken out.  Farmers handle lots of money that it comes in but goes out again on upgrades and supplies just as quickly.

That is it for farming 101 this time.  This last photo is of the old combine heading down the road leaving our farm for the last time….Good bye old yeller.


Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

Just think of all the fabric, sewing machines, classes, retreats, etc. you could buy for what that baby cost!! May it work properly, with few breakdowns for as long as you need it to.

President Kennedy once said that farmers are the only business people who buy their raw materials at retail and sell their product at wholesale. That upside down situation is what has destroyed the smaller family farms.

ga447 said...

New Combine is wonderful news a friend has a farm in South Dakota and when they received the new combine they gave me a ride in it.

Leslie McNeil of MarveLes Art Studios said...

This was a wonderful post, well written, informative, I enjoyed it very much. I so appreciate our farmers, and I know firsthand the issues, challenges and decisions you face. Thanks for feeding us all. Best to you both, and be blessed byt the fruit of your labor.

Elaine Adair said...

Very interesting Lynn. Moving that combine in looks like moving in another house!

Thanks for doing your part in feeding the nation and probably a few other countries. 8-)


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