Podcast Episode 58

Harvest Check-in 2022: Dylan Erickson, Farmer, Western Minnesota

With Guest:
  • Dylan Erickson of Western Minnesota, Farmer

Jamie catches up with Dylan Erickson, a farmer in Western Minnesota who checked in with us last year for harvest. He talks higher-than-expected yields, but what record land prices mean for small family farmers. His plan for next year includes improving the land he already owns (in addition to watching the Minnesota Vikings win the NFC North this season.)

Watch the full episode on YouTube!

Episode 58 | 13 min
I'm trying to improve what I have and lock down things that I can, so I can be the most profitable I can for myself.

Guest Bio

Dylan Erickson, Farmer in Western Minnesota

Jaime (00:02):
This is The Water Table.

Speaker 1 (00:05):
A chance to hear the agricultural side of these issues.

Jaime (00:09):
A place for people to go find information and education.

Karl Guetter (00:13):
Water management is just going to become even more critical into the future.

Jaime (00:17):
How misunderstood what we do is.

Speaker 1 (00:17):
I would encourage people to open their minds and listen to this dialogue.

Jaime (00:35):
Well welcome back to The Water Table podcast. Wanted to do a harvest update similar to what we did last year, kind of backed by popular demand and I have Dylan Erickson on the phone. I think Dylan’s out in the combine this morning or getting ready to anyway for the day. And Dylan, just kind of wanted to touch base with you out in Western Minnesota and see how harvest is going so far in 2022.

Dylan Erickson (00:59):
Hey Jamie, thanks for having me. Yeah, no, we’re rolling right now this morning in the combine and we got a shower rain yesterday, off and on, weird weather yesterday. So both guys were kind of shut down, but for the most part your things were going pretty smooth. Both guys I would say earlier this week finished up soybeans are kind of wrapping that up and most guys are full go on corn now and with the soybeans we kind of kind of all over the board, we had some light ground or some ground that missed some shots of rain that were definitely in the lower yield rains in the forties. And then we had some field that you could just feed the field, tell where you caught the right rain or the pocket of rain that you got and they were up over 60 bushels.

So, I mean it’s such a wide range and so variable and even that so far in the corn, I mean it’s been more impressive than I was expecting in the corn, but you just go from one end to the other and it’s just so variable across, just later planting dates. Soil condition maybe wasn’t perfect for planting in every response to the field. And so it’s definitely seeing the visibility across the field when you’re going up and down. So it’s kind of interesting so far.

Jaime (02:09):
Yeah, I’ve been hearing the same thing through a lot of Western and southwestern Minnesota, just where they caught the rain on the soybeans especially some areas caught a pretty good rain real late August, early September around that Labor Day weekend time and really some good yields. I know some ground that’s not ideal ground a lot of hills and not the best soils but got the rain and 58 bushel soybeans which is really good for that ground. And then you hear of some other areas like were talking to me about yesterday when we visited some yields way down in the low thirties just were on good ground where they didn’t get the rain.

Dylan Erickson (02:55):
Yeah, it’s kind of crazy. Some people are pretty happy with what’s going on on soybeans especially just because the not ideal ground is definitely performing well for them this year and then the good ground maybe isn’t as well as good as they were expecting. It’s just, yeah, it’s kind of interesting how late things were planted for the most part and things kind of shook out but, nonetheless, there’s still, the body prices are still there for us a little bit and we’re hanging in that way.

Jaime (03:21):
So Dylan, you’re, you mentioned earlier just getting started on your corn harvest and probably the first 25% or so in, what are you seeing and what are your expectations the rest of the way out?

Dylan Erickson (03:33):
Yeah, we’re been by some of our lighter stuff or the earlier stuff that we could get in somewhat real tough ground that can be 150, 60 bushel corn. We’re getting on 190, 200 bushel corn and even higher on the next stuff over, even better, 210, 215. So if we can pull some yields on some of this ground here, I’m pretty excited about what to come for the red to harvest. But yeah, moisture it’s been around that 15 to 18%, a lot of it’s pretty early corn for when we had planted, 93 to 96 day corn. So we’ve been hauling a lot actually right to town, just not even monkeying with it and [ [inaudible 00:04:12] corn to town. And so yeah, this is a new tale for what’s to come for the rest of the corn crop. I’m kind of excited about what we could see.

Jaime (04:21):
Yeah. And one thing, just thinking of as you were were talking there, your area, did you get in pretty late this spring? Pretty late planting?

Dylan Erickson (04:33):
Yeah, I think we planted one quarter like the middle of May, but everything else was planted…Then We got a hard rain and we didn’t start, I think we planned everything in about a week and a half, but it was all in the 25th of May, the 28th of May. In that little that week there we pretty much slammed all the corn in and got it all in the ground. So yeah, fairly late planted. Soybeans were definitely getting finished up the first week of June. And same with the edibles in the June planting date.

Jaime (05:06):
So we did up in western Minnesota and a lot of areas in the Midwest had just some real ideal weather once we got it done, which was a struggle getting it in the ground, but just some ideal heat units and to get going here and have your soybeans done by mid-October and things continue and no rain will be average if not early when you’re done harvesting for 2022. So that’s really pretty impressive.

Dylan Erickson (05:40):
Absolutely. I know there’s a lot of guys that are just really surprised at how we’re getting things in the field rolling this way, but my grandpa made a point, he said it was 118 straight days of 70 degree weather or higher. Well, I mean that’s been the last two years, the story is how many heat days we’ve had and I think that just completely caught the crop up quite a bit and caught us up that way and that’s what makes, that’s making corn and what for us out here. I mean the last two years have been some of our better consistent yields across the corn so far and with the start this year.

Jaime (06:13):
Going to be pretty good. You had a good year last year. What, as a young farmer and thinking about the future, what are you thinking about for next year? I know there’s a lot going on in agriculture with high commodities, but high land prices, high inputs, they keep going up and what’s your kind of outlook and how you’re feeling about moving into the future?

Dylan Erickson (06:40):
Yeah, for sure I got most of my inputs other than the seed’s going to go up that 10%, 15% as far as selling seed myself. And as far as fertilizer, I’ve got most of that locked in bought for next year. Cause I know it’s 40, 45% higher than last fall, but still cheaper than last spring. So kind of locking in some prices there to kind of know where you’re at. But I’ve talking to other guys and myself with the land prices values going up and then with the commodity prices where they are and pulling some meals, we’ve seen and already heard of quite a bit of land rent going up anywhere from 50 to a 100 bucks an acre cash rent. And so it’s going to be interesting but you’re going to want to lock down those things early and kind of know where you’re at headed into the next year ,for myself anyways.

So I have a plan set in place so I know where I’m at and where I can be and things I can expand on. And then as far as land sales too around us, we’ve had a ton just really close to the farm and with some record prices too. And it’s, for a young guy like me at times it can be a little struggle to watch some of the much larger farmers come in and you want that piece of ground that’s right next to the farm. But it’s kind of hard at prices like this and just getting going to really have a foot, get a foot, and to have a place in the door on a land sale, things like that. But again, trying to improve what I have and lock down things so I can be as most profitable as I can know for myself heading into where prices are going and things like that.

Jaime (08:21):
Yep, yep. Yeah, it’s, we’ve talked about that quite a bit on the podcast on land values and improving land and what water management drainage can do for land you already have on just improving your bottom line. And I know you’ve done a bunch of that and it’s really helped. So thank you for that. And to all those listening too, it’s something that when you get in a position where you just feel like, how can I grow when land prices are this high? You need to be considering other options to grow with what you already have and just improving it.

Dylan Erickson (09:00):
Yeah, that’s exactly where I’ve been. If you can’t, sorry now I did buy a piece of ground kind of right out of college and then the next year I improved that and some other pieces we’ve had that I’ve taken on, we’ve gotten improved. So you can’t get in the market right now, especially when we’re trying to expand and can grow a little bit. You can’t compete with the cash price or cash rent price or the land values. You, as I found the value in increasing the value and the land that you have and making it way more profitable and seeing the benefit, probably even quicker than maybe even a land purchase that time. So it’s been a good deal for me too.

Jaime (09:39):
Yeah, yeah. Great. Well Dylan, I’ll leave you with, you and I have talk every once in a while and visit about things that we both enjoy sports and things. I know you’re a big Vikings fan and I haven’t talked to you about this at all yet in 2022, but off to a good start. My personal opinion is I’m not holding my breath on it not being just an average season by the end, but what are you thinking?

Dylan Erickson (10:07):
Yeah, no, I see where you’re coming from there. And a lot of these games last year we were losing for sure. And so we just have that mindset of Minnesota sports fan that hey, if something’s bound to happen or as times they’re going to turn a little bit, we won’t get those extra scores. But it says something about a team that can go out win these games too, I think. But I like Kevin O’Connell, I like what he is doing in the innovative offense we’re going to have, we already see just a bunch, like last week, a bunch of trick plays and things like that to get 10, 15 yards, not even to make big plays and just using all our options I think is awesome. I think they’re a better group because of it and the way he has brought them together. But if you look at our schedule the rest of the way out and we got Miami this week with the quarterback down and the Bills will be, we won’t be a favorite in that and maybe the Packers at the end of the year at Lambeau.

Other than that, we’re probably going to be the favorite in every game the rest of the way out. If you look at the schedule, and I think we’re sitting in the driver’s seat now with Green Bay, maybe not being quite as good as we thought they were going to be and to win the north. And so I don’t know what that says about, I don’t know if we’re competing with the Philadelphia’s yet and Bills and teams like that, but I think a 2 or 3, maybe 4 loss season isn’t definitely out of the question winning the north. So there is some hope, but I definitely can see where, you know think, oh we could have lost the last 3 games too, but it seems quite a way to win, right?

Jaime (11:35):
I like the optimism, I’m not convinced our defense is good enough, but we’ll see. I do agree that our schedule is in a position where we can win a bunch of them. So, never know in the NFL you just got to hang on and win a lot of those close games because so many of them are close for every team.

Dylan Erickson (12:01):
No, exactly. And if you put the two new schemes together defensively and offensively, that’s a lot of change again for guys. So just looking for hopefully the next few weeks we really can figure some of this stuff out. But again, who knows, like I said, everything’s close and tight in the NFL and so a major injury can happen or anything like that. And then, that totally changed the spectrum of the rest year too.

Jaime (12:26):
Yep, yep, for sure. Well talking about injury and stuff, stay safe out there as you finish up here, this harvest this year and don’t want to ruin a couple of good years with some kind of accident. So talking to everybody out there listening, just have a great harvest and stay safe and thanks for your time today, Dylan, really appreciate it. Yeah,

Dylan Erickson (12:50):
I appreciate it Jamie. Thanks for the calling. Yes, and everyone have a good harvest and stay safe.

Jaime (12:58):
Thanks for joining us today on The Water Table. You can find us at watertable.eg, find us on Facebook, you can find us on Twitter, and you can also find the podcast on any of your favorite podcast platforms.