I had a call yesterday from Ed Molzan who farms in southwest
Ontario – west of London, south of Sarnia, near a little place call Alvinston.
As a long time reader of Grainews (25 years) and as a
soybean grower (for 60 years), Ed called to let me know he had the earliest
soybean crop ever in six decades.
In the past, the earliest has been the end of September, and
he said it wasn’t uncommon not to start soybeans until Thanksgiving. Due to
weather conditions he has even had to wait to combine the crop in November and
a nice January day. This year combines were rolling in the third week of
Last year he had a record soybean yield and this year a
record wheat crop, for him. He figured the beans were looking like a 60 bushel
crop earlier, but expects it to average more like 45 bushels. Still not bad, he
figures. He produces soybeans for the human food market. So if the commodity
price is $10 a bushel, he gets a $2 premium making it a $12/bushel crop.
“Good enough that I’ll have to tell Revenue Canada about
that one,” says Ed, who is 72.
He told me about the 1973 crop that yielded about 30 bushels
per acre, but the price zoomed up to $10 bushel, so on 100 acres of soybeans he
made enough to buy a new $30,000 combine. He credits the advice received from
Roger Murray, who at the time was in Winnipeg working his way up the management
chain of Cargill. Ed visited with Murray at a meeting and he was advised to
hold on to the beans that fall because the $4 price would likely improve over
winter. Murray retired in 1997 as president of Cargill Europe.
And while Murray couldn’t handle the work schedule, Ed is
still at it. He has some health issues, which doesn’t allow him to do as much
as he’d like, but his son helps with the field work.
The other ‘mature’ farmer who made the national news this
week was 82-year-old Ray Como who is/was still farming at St. Albert, just west
Ray went to check on the serial numbers of parts inside the
engine compartment of his 1980 combine, got caught upside down in the
compartment and hung there for 21 hours before he was found the next day by his
I saw Como on the news the other night. He thought he was
going to die there, and is thankful to be alive. He figures it may be time to
retire from farming and enjoy life with his family.
My only thought for both these guys, is do what you’re doing
for as long as you can, as long as you are enjoying it. Go for it.