Former Ag Secretary John Block’s Weekly Commentary – “On the Farm”


Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Corn Growers Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Down on the farm in Illinois – that’s where I am. I’m on the telephone today.

What an exciting, rewarding harvest this is. I have never seen better corn and soybeans. Yields are off the chart. Corn is at 250 bushels per acre plus and soybeans are in the 70s. I need to control my optimism because we all know prices are in the tank given the fact that I have been in this business all my life. I have learned that one great crop can be followed by drought the next year.

But for those of us fortunate enough to have a good crop, be grateful. We need to enjoy while we can. Just watching that golden corn being augered into the auger wagon, driving along beside the combine as we continue through the field, is such a beautiful sight. It is a reminder about the productivity and efficiency of modern agriculture. The combine doesn’t have to stop. It just keeps rolling. When the auger wagon is full, it empties into a semi-trailer and off to the grain dryer. From there, it’s into the grain bins. That’s our hog feed for next year.

Speaking of hogs, prices are really bad. But let’s concentrate on the positive side. We raise about 6,000 pigs farrow to finish per year. They are healthy and happy. We had 4 litters born yesterday and 2 the day before. When one sow has perhaps 14 babies and another sow has 8, we transfer 2 babies from the big litter over to the other mother. That way, there is a better chance they will all survive.

Those little guys might weigh only about 2 pounds, but in 6 months they will weigh 280 pounds and then off to market.

We had to bring in 6 sows from the pasture this morning before we started harvest. They were clearly getting close to delivery of their litters. Our sows run free in the field for breeding and are not put into the farrowing crate until just before farrowing. Three or four weeks after birth, babies are weaned from their mother and fed on out to market weight.

Now, I have told you more than you want to know about corn and pigs. So – back to the harvest.
If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.


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