Now is the time farmers are thinking spring. A New Salem farmer discussed how the wet fall weather has determined what moves he makes next.
“Right now we’re waiting for the frost to come outta the ground,” said Jeremy Gappert, North Dakota farmer.
Gappert has been farming his whole life and has some concerns about the upcoming season.
“What worries me is basically having a late spring like we’ve had the past few years. Cold soils, wet soils, snowing again,” said Gappert.
The uncertainty can be exhausting. There’s so much more that goes into farming besides the weather. It’s not just figuring out what seeds to put in the ground and harvesting them. It’s a process of checking prices for fertilizer, chemicals and fuel, as well as making sure all equipment is running properly.
Gappert said he’s been talking to other producers to see what seeds are trending now because the weather caused markets to shift.
“Acre wise it looks like possibly sunflowers might be the way to go,” said Gappert.
He said with commodity prices right now, corn could yield a profit and soybeans might break even — if China takes them. But sunflowers are looking like they might be popular this year.
“Sunflowers kinda have a unique thing going on this year. Old ladies and people who love nature and have kids still like to feed their birds. And black oil seed sunflowers are the best things,” said Maria Harvey, Account Manager at Legend Seeds.
Harvey said in the sunflower business, they have an “Act of God” option that many other crops don’t.
“If it gets hailed out if it floods, if it freezes too early and they don’t have a crop, they don’t have to worry about trying to fill that contract,” said Harvey.
And while there are many things you can’t control in the business…
“In farming, it’s never going to be how you want it,” said Harvey.
What you can control is your attitude.
“What I’m optimistic about that our weather cycles finally gonna straighten out.. that we might have a normal summer where we get heat units for this corn and the crops to grow and timely rain,” said Gappert.
But the optimism of a good year is what keeps Gappert coming back to the field each spring. Both Gappert and Harvey were pretty surprised that sunflowers would be trending this year. On the other hand, they said North Dakota has always had very diversified fields.