View From the Cab

Take a Tractor Time Out

Our weekly View From the Cab reports highlight the many activities on the farm during the season. Genny Haun reports in from Kenton, Ohio, and Kyle Krier details farm life from Claflin, Kansas. (Photos courtesy of Genny Haun and Kyle Krier)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Farm diversification allows little down time during summer months. Wheat harvest, sidedressing corn and baling are on the chore lists for DTN's View From the Cab correspondents this week.

Kyle Krier, Claflin, Kansas, and Genny Haun, Kenton, Ohio, are also hoping to schedule some family time into their hectic schedules. Small children grow like weeds, and both young farmers are trying to tack fun into the equation this summer as they meld farm and family.

"Does it count as vacation if you're also looking at tractors," asked Haun. Her oldest son, Carter (4.5 years), is "tractor crazy" and the family is planning a tractor-themed trip to John Deere-land.

Krier's trip this week will be equipment related, too. He traveled to eastern Kansas to pick up a grain trailer. "We are trying to find some time to slip away this summer, but hay season is all season. Our getaways are usually more spur of the moment this time of year," he said.

Krier and Haun are providing DTN with weekly reports about the 2018 growing season and other aspects of farm life.

Here's what's happening in their parts of the farming world:


A perfectly timed and proportioned rain found Layman Farms this week, and although it stalled tiling operations, it meant crews were free to do some "farmkeeping."

"We're cleaning up the shop, returning empty totes and finding plenty of other chores around the farm," said Genny Haun. When conditions allow, they'll head back to the field to finish sidedressing corn.

Each employee of the farm has set job descriptions but has been with the farm long enough to pitch in where needed. Still, as Genny and her husband, Matt Haun, become more involved and the farm enterprises expand, she'd like to include more structure to streamline operations.

"I worked in corporate agriculture before coming back to the farm, and the organized side of my brain tells me we could benefit from more formal work processes," she said. "It's definitely on my to-do list to start having more farm meetings and discussions."

Bringing her own expertise to the table in a multi-generational family farm is important to Haun, but she also wants to be respectful with her efforts.

"My father began farming at age 18 when his own father passed away unexpectedly. He understands how fragile life is and how important it is to have plans in place," she said. "We're in a bit of a transition here again as we come into the operation and have an eye on how we go about that properly." Her parents mark 36 years of marriage this week.

A family lake house in Tennessee is a favorite summer getaway for all the family members, but this week, the Hauns are loading up for Waterloo, Iowa. There's a celebration going on to mark the 100 years of John Deere tractors.

"Tractors are all Carter talks about these days. In fact, he's been complaining because our current fertilizer rig doesn't have a jump seat and he can't ride along," Haun said.

That changes soon as a new spreader, with the all-important buddy seat, is joining their fertilizer business. Part of the trip includes a visit to Des Moines, Iowa, so Matt can take in the behind-the-scenes factory Gold Key Tour. If the kids and parents are up for it, they'll stop in Moline, Illinois, on the way home to take in more Deere sites.

Carter may like tractor gazing, but he's not leaving home without his boots. Haun reports it isn't unusual to see him in true farm kid style -- boots sometimes even when he's wearing pajamas.

It's easier to leave home with the knowledge that the crops are tucked in and healthy. "Our crops have a really good start and we have fingers crossed that continues," she said.


Rollin', rollin', rollin' is what Kyle Krier has been doing this past week. While the first hay cutting has been put to bed, he was baling grass waterways, hay meadows and brome fields.

"Some customers really like it to mix with alfalfa to feed to young calves," said the Claflin, Kansas, farmer.

The streams, though, are definitely not swollen in central Kansas though. Temperatures soared to triple-digits and held steady for more days this past week.

"It's hot. Although today [Monday], it's supposed to be pleasant -- around 90 degrees with a chance of showers over the next day or so," he said.

Wheat has matured quickly with the heat and Krier expected to start cutting by the end of the week. "We're hearing the buzz. A few guys in the area have tried it, but still a little damp.

"The combines are sitting out of the shed and the headers are being hooked up," he said.

He traveled to Topeka this week to retrieve a hopper-bottom grain trailer to pull behind the semi.

"I might be putting the cart before the horse, but it appears we'll have a decent enough wheat crop. In past years, we've rented a third trailer and when we found a good deal, it seemed the right thing to purchase one," he said.

While it seems as though first-cutting hay was just finished, Krier is already gearing up for the second cutting of alfalfa. When you do custom work, the job is never really done.

"Seems someone is always calling and wanting something mown or baled," he said. Alfalfa is what provides him a steady diet of work all summer. Generally it takes 10 to 12 days to get all the acres mowed, and baling takes four to five days. By the time that cycle is done, it's almost time to start again if the rains cooperate.

"Hay is sometimes a four-letter word for my wife because it does keep us so tied down," he said. "However, she also understands it pays a lot of bills." Krier said when they see seasonal breaks, they jump in the car and steal away for impromptu getaways.

Despite the heat and need for some moisture, he's still counting his blessings. "I don't have any crazy or wild stories this week. Thank goodness we haven't broken anything that can't be mended," he said.

Pamela Smith can be reached at

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