We had a call in late September from Ed Molzan who farms at Alvinston in southwest Ontario. Alvinston is west of London and south of Sarnia.
As a longtime reader ofGrainews (for 25 years) and as a soybean grower (for 60 years), Ed called to let us 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 on nice January days. This year combines were rolling the third week of September.
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. If the commodity price is $10 a bushel, he gets a $2 premium making it a $12-per-bushel crop.
“Good enough that I’ll have to tell Revenue Canada about that one,” says Ed, who is 72.
He recalled the 1973 crop that yielded about 30 bushels per acre, but the price zoomed 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.