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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was offered about 1400 acres to rent a couple weeks ago and I'm not sure I could risk trying to farm that much.

Right now, my farm is 3600 acres between my father and I. Due to the weather pattern, both our seeding and harvest was quite late. This is despite having a 70' drill and 45' class 9 combine. I figured upgrading those pieces of machinery would improve our capacity and make it possible for me to expand a bit.

How do you know when it's time to expand? How do you handle the extra work load?
 

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wow thats a nice chunk of land, is the rent outrageous or can you still make good money on it. If the rent is permanent offered at not too high of price i'd go for it.
how to handle extra work load, well hire custom work at first till you raise the capital to buy bigger equipment and start working with a hired hand.
although have to say your quite maxed out already with your equipment.
right now might not be too bad of a time i'd say. when things look bearish its always a good time to jump in.
 

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Hire men.
We tried to it all ourselves and get gear to help but when things are getting left behind while your doing 110hr weeks I decided to hire a few guys which after 2 years we ended up finding the right men and they are my left and right arms. Still doing 100hr weeks and they are doing 60-70hr weeks. There is always work to be done and it's better to spend money on wages than lose on late crops or not getting the spray/fert on at the right times.
Distance is a factor too. We sold a farm that was 30km away and bought a neighbours place. Sine then it has really simplified all our operations especially when we are irrigating.
My thoughts. If it's close and you could get someone to employ go for it.
 

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First of all your dad is going to have to decide how much harder he wants to work, you both may have to sacrifice some quality time in the summer months to pull off the extra acres in a timely fashion. Find out if you can get some part time hired help for peak seasons or like most areas you are competing against oilfield wage inflation and will not get anyone unless you offer up full time year round employment. Pencil out your hired hands full time wages against your net profit for the extra acres and this will help with the decision
 

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As long as the deal makes you money I would go for it and depending you may never get another shot at it
 

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Land doesn't seem to come up for many of us all that often. And when it does we are often bidding against neighbors. If you have been asked to rent a nice chunk take some time to really consider it. Around here we'd kill for an opportunity like this.
 

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Is the rent deal something reasonable? Does it come with enough grain storage? Do you think you can cash flow the inputs and the rent without to much risk? Does it look like a good long term relationship? If you answer yes to all these then I'd say go for it. You have enough drill capacity for a less than two week seed window so your in good shape there.
Your Dad is a big part of the equation though so I would say it largely depends on what he thinks. If he's negative on the situation and he is still a large part of the decision making and labor than it may not be worth the family battles that could ensue. If he's winding down and your basically running the show than finding good help with those kind of acres is essential. Your ability to hire and work with others will be something to assess.
I have heard of guys farming 5000 acres with very little to no help. It can be done. But with all this wet weather I would want to have help lined up.
1400 acre chunks of land don't fall on your lap every day, but if your content with the way things are going and this would add a lot of stress than I wouldn't feel bad walking away from it.
 

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Great opportunity, but, you are going to need another combine, another semi, a hired man at probably $30.00 + per hour to compete with oilfield and also who won't completely demolish your equipment plus the extra inputs for the crop itself. You are in a good position right now keeping it in the family and may have a bit of time for yourself in the summer, if you are willing to let outsiders in and purchase the needed equipment, go for it. That is quite a bit extra to take on in one step, think it out carefully.
 

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I'd seriously consider it. Think about hiring a hand. You may be in the same position as me, dad is slowing down, his heart is in it but the body can't keep up. Around me land is hard to come by. The 20000+ acre farms eat anything available up in a blink. You are at the tipping point of going to the next level of farming. If the numbers are there it's hard to turn down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The rent is fairly cheap, but we don't have very large average yields and we generally only gross about $250 per acre. However, it is close. 800 acres of it connects to 350 I currently farm.

It's hard to upgrade much of our equipment. Planning up upgrading tractor this fall/winter to make seeding slightly easier. We don't have the people to run more than what we have, either. Hired hands are nearly impossible to find around here.

We have the capacity in a year with a decent spring and fall to handle it all easily, but we haven't had more than 2 of those years in the last 10.

My dad is just over 60, and plans on doing this full time for 5 or 6 years. After that he plans on slowing down, so then I will need to find a hired man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I should also mention that I did all my seeding this year in about 150 tractor hours, it was just a struggle to get those hours before June 15th. Our harvest was done in 180 separator hours. Again, it was a struggle to find the hours to get it done.
 

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I should also mention that I did all my seeding this year in about 150 tractor hours, it was just a struggle to get those hours before June 15th. Our harvest was done in 180 separator hours. Again, it was a struggle to find the hours to get it done.
?? 70 feet at those hours should get 5000 acres seeded. Equipment isn't the problem organization maybe, I don't want to sound rude but I have struggled with it before but once you get your ducks in a row shouldn't be a problem. I was seeding 3200 acres with 34 feet fairly easily. Now only have 2200 to do real easy now.
 

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I would be taking it . you already have the drill to handle the acers . you will need a combine and a man . get organised so that the drill is going all the time .... stops only to fill . yes you need another good combine . land is dam hard to come by
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
?? 70 feet at those hours should get 5000 acres seeded. Equipment isn't the problem organization maybe, I don't want to sound rude but I have struggled with it before but once you get your ducks in a row shouldn't be a problem. I was seeding 3200 acres with 34 feet fairly easily. Now only have 2200 to do real easy now.
The 150 was from when the tractor was started in the spring. that included 800 acres of reseeding, 640 acres of slow heavy harrowing, some disking and such.

We were seeding about 450 acres per day roughly. About 15 actual seeding hours per day, plus servicing and such. But we only had 2 of back to back seeding this year. The rest was one day here, half a day here, etc.

Around here, it's a real struggle to average more than 24 acres seeded per tractor hour. One neighbour with 2 430 bushel 1910 JD tanks and a 56' Conservaplow averages between 18 and 19 acres per hour with that tractor only on the drills. When only seeding, I average about 35 acres per hour.

I'm not sure how getting my ducks in a row would help in this situation. I seem to have about 10 days to get seeded.
 

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Alot depends on what the land is like. If its in small pieces and broke up with water runs etc. its hard to cover much ground in a day. I'd say with the acres per hour you are doing, your farm is much like ours, I do approx. 20 an hour with a 40 foot drill. I'm kind of in the same boat as you are with a father getting to the age they don't/can't do what they used to and finding help is next to impossible. I would like to expand a bit but there is no land at all in my area that isn't too expensive for me pencil out the rent or purchase price and still make a living. My dad has always said you are best to farm what you can handle by yourself or with family because finding good help is very hard and bad help is worse than no help. You need to consider your quality of life and family/social life before you take this on. Nobody's headstone ever said they wished they had worked more.
 
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