My grandfather passed away on August 16. He was a life long farmer who lived to farm. He just loved farming, and farmed up until 2010. He was 93 years old when he passed away in his sleep. He didn’t go to the doctor nor did he take any medicine.
The man taught me everything about farming that they dont teach you in the textbooks or at all these meetings I attend. You know…. the important stuff.
In the video section you can watch a short clip of him running our bulldozer at age 91, clearing some brush.
I am the most blessed farmer in the world, having had the privilege to farm with him for 35 or so years. The following is my tribute to him and his life as a farmer:
When he was a kid it took him two days to disc 35 acres behind a team of horses and he got paid $0.25 for his work. A quarter less than the other kids because he was smaller.
On that same 35 acres in his life time with a team of horses he spread lime out the back of a horse drawn wagon. He used commercial fertilizer shoveled out of a rail car into a wagon and then into a spreader driven by the wheels of the wagon. He would then go on to use a tractor to spread fertilizer and apply anhydrous ammonia. He would use GPS to spread fertilizer and lime variable rate.
On that same 35 acres he used his first tractor, it had steel wheels. He would trade up even having to buy a chest freezer during the war because of rationing to be able to buy a tractor off the International dealer. He went from 13 horsepower when he started to 350 horsepower when he made his last pass across the field. His implement size went from 3 foot to 35 foot. His planter went from two rows to 12 rows.
On that same 35 acres he went from guiding a team of horses with reins in hand to watching his grandson and great grandson only touch the steering wheel on the ends when they turned because they had GPS auto guidance.
On that same 35 acres he picked corn by hand and threw it in a wagon. He went from a horse drawn wagon to a corn picker run by a tractor to a two row combine. He went from a two row combine with no cab to a four row combine with a cab to a six row combine with a cab and air conditioning. He shelled corn in a combine that had a GPS yield monitor to map the yield. But he already knew what it would make and where it would make it before the GPS told him because he had been over every inch of that 35 acres so many times.
He saw the development of the gas tractor, the diesel tractor, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, hybrid seed corn, cyst resistant soybeans, insect resistant corn, Round Up and Liberty Link soybeans and corn, GPS, yield monitors, variable rate planting, variable rate fertilizer and auto guidance.
He went from hoping to make 50 bushel corn to shelling whole farm averages over 200.
He drove a tractor and a combine until he was 91 years old.
He could fix anything.
He could teach. At 91 he taught his 13 year old great grandson how to weld.
He was married for almost 73 years.
He had more faith than anyone else that everything would be alright and work out.
This is a mighty big yard stick to measure a life by. As a farmer he saw every major invention, advancement and development in agriculture in his lifetime. He adapted, changed and thrived. He got to farm in fields with 4 generations of his family at the same time.
Wow, what a life lived!
We are sad that he is gone, but there is no reason to be sad at the life he lived.
If I make it to 90 in this fast paced world, and the yard stick is laid down to measure my life I hope that it can be compared to the same yard stick of accomplishment. If I make it to 90+ year old I hope my grand kids and great grand kids will look back and shake their head and say “Wow, what a life lived”!
This morning all I can say is WOW! WHAT A LIFE LIVED.
Roy Faughn Payne 7-18-1919 – 8-16-2012
Kelly Robertson, Grandson.
Took a few weeks off, as I have been on the summer version of the rubber chicken and roast beef meeting circuit. Lots of info was picked up at most of the meetings with one topic being overdone, and that would be the drought. Everyone seems to have had a weather guesser, climatologist or dry weather/drought expert of some type speak. With exception of one or two they all said the same thing and a few of the weather people seemed to talk down to us farmers as if we were not aware of how hot and dry it has been.
Well, here we are at August 13 and I thought I would post a picture or two of the corn crop at this date. I took the bush hog and ran into the same field I have posted pictures of in other posts here on the farm, to show just what our final yield prospects look like.
The stalks are rubbery and have greened up a bit after we got a few pop up showers as of late. But that has done nothing to add yield, just make the corn look greener than it was.
I had to count 32 stalks (which in this field was 17.5 ft of row or 1/1000 of an acre) before I found an ear with any kernels on it. This would be typical of this field minus the 6 or 8 end rows around the field that have an ear, of about the same size, on about every stalk.
Hardly worth the time to harvest………..
I have heard of several yield and aflatoxin stories the last 72 hours for this area. One story is of a 60 acre field that, when shelled, fit easily into a tandem truck and had an aflatoxin score of 30. Another was of a corn field that did average 30 bpa but had an aflatoxin score of 300. Both were rejected. Of those shelling corn, the best field average I have heard of so far was in the 70’s, but it was also some bottom ground that you would expect to have higher yields on. Most of the upland ground that has been harvested thus far has yields in the 20’s-40’s.
I will try to follow up with some meeting highlights the next few days…………