Normal Spring or Late Winter?

On Wednesday the 3rd of April, I visited with a client and he told me last year (2012) on the 27th of March he had all of his small grain seeded. This year? The only thing I’ve seen in the field has been snow on the 27th! The past few years we’ve seen warmer temperatures during late winter and early spring, however this year seems to be looking more like an average spring. Does anyone remember the St. Patrick’s Day Blizzard of 1965 and all the flooding that followed?

I have noticed the frost coming out of some fields however, the water is still sitting in the low ground tells me the tile hasn’t opened yet.

Many farmers are asking themselves – “When will we get in the fields?” In the middle 1960’s when I was still a young pup, Fred Ninow told me something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “Young fella, you just don’t get into the field until 2 things happen in Minnesota in the spring. They are: the snow has to be out of the groves and the ice has to be off of the lakes!”. I’ve watched this during the years that have passed and the saying is still true today as it was back in the ’60’s.

We will get warm temps this spring and the crop will be planted, everyone just has to be patient. When you finally get in the fields with the tractors, equipment and trucks, be careful and don’t work being tired. I was on a fire department for many years and it is not a pretty sight when called to a farm accident. Your family needs you.

Take care
Gary P Hotovec
Heller Group – 1 Stop Realty
Olivia, MN

Harvest is in full swing

The combines and beet lifters are running night and day as the ideal harvesting weather continues.  The dry conditions in the area are making this years harvest progress to almost a record pace.  Unusual as this year has been, it appears that many farmers will finish the corn harvest before finishing with the soybeans.  Many fields of soybeans are maturing uneven with green stalks and dry pods.

Corn yields I’ve been hearing in the local area have been from 150 to 200 bu. plus per acre with soybeans from 25 to 65 bu. per acre, all depends on who got the rain!  I’ve heard the sugar beets are yielding good also in the area.

I talked to my cousin in Iowa last night, he told me a farm that he manages in NE Iowa, 1 to 2 bu. per acre and the corn is 2′ to 3′ high with no ears.  Not everything is all well down on the farm!  Also, I visited with a farmer yesterday who was doing some tile repair by Willmar.  They dug down 10′ to the tile and powder dry all the way down.  This weather is good for the harvesting, but we sure do need rain and moisture before next spring and planting!

Gary P Hotovec

Hotovec Auction Center

Hutchinson, MN

There Goes the Farm



There goes the farm — to the next generation —–



It use to be tradition that the family farm, went to the next generation.  In the 20th century, it was easy to do that because it seemed like there was nearly always a son or family member who wanted to continue farming the family farm.  But now as the size of farms get larger, and our children want to move to the big city to have a career and raise a family, so that “next” generation is not so important to them to remain on the farm.

So now what? Our parents still transferred the farm to their children, but we cash rent the farm out to the neighbor and love having the extra income.  Yes, once in a while there is a spat between siblings or siblings’ spouses.  But that cash rent pays for our entertainment and vacations and life is good.  Then comes that day, when you get that phone call that one of your siblings or siblings’ spouses passes away.  Now we have more people involved in the family farm.  We have to deal with the nieces and nephews. Or my spouse or I may pass away and our children and their families have to deal with their aunts and uncles and maybe even their cousins.

Does it sound complicated?



Grandma and Grandma Smith died about 33 years ago.  They left 160 acre farm to their three sons, who decided to keep the farm and cash rent it out.  One son lived within a half a mile of this farm. Then the youngest son past away and gave his 1/3 share of the farm to his three children with a life estate to his wife  A year later, the oldest son, who never married, suffered from dementia and was in the nursing home for seven years.  During that time, he needed money so his nephew, purchased his 1/3 share of the farm.  A few years later, the middle son passed away and willed his 1/3 share to his four children, with a life estate to his wife. So when the 2 wives pass away, we will have seven nieces and nephews owning 2/3’s of 160 acres.

Who is going to want to buy 2/3’s of a farm?  Probably one person, the nephew that owns the other 1/3. Are the seven of them going to agree to sell the farm at the same time? Are the seven heirs going to agree on a listing price? Could the seven heirs be lucky enough that the nephew owning the 1/3 would want to sell the farm at the same time? At least this farm is NOT the farm that Grandma and Grandpa first homesteaded when they came to Minnesota nor does the farm have any buildings where Grandma and Grandpa lived, so we are not dealing with those feelings.

This example happens to be a friend’s situation.  She is frustrated because Mom won’t sell her 1/3 share of the farm because Dad gave it to her and she likes getting the income off the farm each year.  She can understand Mom’s feelings, but she wishes Mom would think about the complicated situation she is going to be leaving for her 3 grown children.

So, maybe now is the time to sell the farm before we have to get the next generation involved.

Slow Start to Spring Planting in West Central, Minnesota

Very little planting has been completed as of May 6, 2011 in West Central Minnesota due to cold, wet conditions.  A year ago, most farmers in our area had completed corn, soybean and sugarbeet planting by this date.  The early planting in 2010 produced bumper crops, as favorable weather continued throughout the growing season.

This spring, the majority of the farmers have either planted nothing or perhaps one field of corn.  The Southern Minnesota Sugarbeet Co-Op reported about 12-13% of the contracted sugarbeet crop has been planted.  To my knowledge, there have been no soybeans planted.  The pea companies have been searching for fields dry enough to plant the contracted green pea crop.  They have had some success in doing so.

Most farmers feel that there will be no need to switch to earlier maturing hybrids unless planting gets delayed beyond May 15th.