Editor's Note: Next in a series from Iowa farmer Tyler Bruch whose family farms 10,500 acres in Bahia, Brazil.
As I noted in last month's column, our planter and sprayer were on a ship leaving New York, with a 30-day journey ahead of them to get to the port of Salvador. I'll admit, I can now return to a normal sleeping pattern since the sprayer got to port and the planter showed up, too. Both pieces of equipment will need about 7-10 days to get through customs, then the containers will be loaded on semis and transported to the farm. We hope to have both assembled and field tested in a week's time.
Fall is the time of year that I really get kind of homesick. The weather is about perfect, hunting seasons are starting, you can pick up any college football game you want and you're getting started with the fall harvest. For me this is a hard time to be 6,000 miles away, but as harvest gets underway in the States, we're just around the corner from our planting season.
Our fieldwork is 85% complete — we need a few more weeks to do some deep disking on one of our farms that we made a last-minute decision to spread 1.2 tons of lime on. This is a farm that's going into cotton and we were pretty short on calcium, so this should help balance our soils.
With the exception of that farm, we need to finish level disking about 2,500 acres that we already spread our fertilizer on for soybeans. In Brazil, everybody uses disks with 18-in. blades in the form of a field cultivator. Even though it pains me to use a disk in this form of prepping soil, for now it's our only option until we get to a more strip-/no-till basis. It will be a nice feeling to get done with the tillage work; we've been going at it for nearly 122 days, and almost all of it was 24/7.
In the next 15 days the fieldwork will be done and we'll concentrate full time on our planting preparations. This means going through bearings, changing disk openers and faulty grease zerks, and replacing drive chains. This period of maintenance is very important for us. When the rains begin and we're able to plant we'll run 24 hours a day, in three 8-hour shifts. So any downtime is costly to us since the next rain spell may keep us out of the field for a week or more.
We'll start to pick up all seed orders in the next few weeks and begin to receive our early pre-emergence herbicides. We only carry about a five-day inventory of product on the farms. We've never had an issue with theft, but I know some others that have, so we keep everything in town at a huge warehouse that's safeguarded. When we need product they deliver it to us as requested.
We've made quite a bit of progress in the last few months, taking on additional land that needed extra work and prepping for cotton, and now we're ready to go. My father always says that a farmer only gets 30-40 chances in his lifetime to plant and harvest a crop, so every year is critical to do the best job possible.
Like all farmers, I'm optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead this year and I am ready to go.
Tyler Bruch is president of Global Ag Investments and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
In January, Global Ag Investments and Northland Commodities will be hosting two farm tours to Bahia. The tours will cover soybeans, cotton, corn, cattle and fruit farming under irrigation. They'll also visit one of the largest soybean crushers in South America as well as several other points of interest related to the growing ag sector in Bahia. For a complete itinerary check out www.globalaginvestments.com.