Around the Farm – Supply Shortages

It’s February, which means our farm is currently hauling corn to the ethanol plant in Rochelle, working on some of our equipment, finishing up the books for 2021 and putting the final touches on our crop plan for 2022.

When we look back at 2021 it was a good, but challenging year. It started warm and dry allowing us to plant our whole farm in about a week. The crop got off to a good start. Unlike many of the past crop years, it was dry for most of the summer. Even though it was dry we had a good corn crop and an average soybean crop.

The biggest challenge from last year wasn’t the weather though, it was the supply chain. Most years we can get fertilizer and chemicals very easily and the price is usually fairly stable throughout the year. Not last year.

By mid-summer crop protection products started to run out and the prices began to climb. Fertilizer prices also took off, well over doubling last year’s cost and some became unavailable for our fall application.

Looking forward to this crop year we were able to lock in most of our inputs such as seed, crop protectants, and fertilizer. We did this fairly early to control some of the rise in costs. And owning our own application equipment gives us a lot of flexibility to react to the changing supply chain issues.

We have had to make sure that we have multiple plans for weed control this year due to limited supplies, thus we are using multiple forms of fertilizer to manage our costs and still be able to feed our crops and the soil the needed nutrients.

Parts, equipment, and labor shortages have played a role in how we plan not only for 2022 but also for ’23 and ’24.

Even with the challenges we are facing in agriculture, I believe that 2022 will be a great farm year.


About me:

My family’s farm was founded in 1943 by my grandfather with help from his father, which makes me either a 3rd or 4th generation farmer, depending on how you want to count. I came back to the farm in 2013 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Ag Economics.

Over the last eight years my role has changed from learning the day-to-day operations of our farm to making our agronomy decisions, some of the grain marketing decisions, and now I’m starting to learn more of the book work. I recently became a seed dealer for Beck’s hybrids, which I really enjoy doing.

My wife, Mallory, and I were married in 2017 and we have two dogs and a cat.