September 18, 2014

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High-tech harvest – Farm day ’07

Area farmers pray for rain, check out new tractors

WELLINGTON — Jon and Kevin Gott grow mostly soybeans, so they aren’t fretting as much as some farmers who are sweating the lack of a serious soaking rain.
That’s because the Gotts didn’t try to cash in on the ethanol boom by growing a lot of corn this year at the 1,200 acres they farm at Webster Road and state Route 58.
“Let the guys out west who can really grow it (take the chance) while we’ll take advantage of the high soybean market that follows,” Jon Gott said. “If we don’t get rain in the next few weeks, the corn yield is going to go down.”
The early drizzle Tuesday was like manna from heaven for about 100 farmers attending Farm Day ’07, hosted by Wellington Implement.
But there just wasn’t enough rain.
This area is about 3.5 inches below normal for rainfall, but there’s a 40 percent chance of showers or thundershowers today and Friday, according to meteorologist Kyle Lombardy of the National Weather Service.
Farmers showed up for hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad and watermelon as well as a chance to see new Case IH equipment such as a $180,000 Case Magnum 255-horsepower tractor that drives itself using a global positioning system.
It’s not that the farmers are too lazy to turn the wheel, according to Tom Stannard of Wellington Implement.
The autopilot rows are guaranteed to be accurate plus or minus an inch, and that makes planting precious seed a more dependable process.
The star of the day was a $42,000 True-Tandem 330 Turbo tillage tool shown by Stannard’s father, Bill Stannard.
Wellington Implement is the first Case dealer in the state to have the tool, which loosens the top of the soil to accept rain and seed without compacting the soil underneath.
Jon Gott said he was tempted to get the turbo tillage tool by trading in a similar piece of equipment that’s only three years old.
Another Wellington farmer, Larry Kolb, said he already splurged and purchased a tractor that lists for $125,000.
He said he went to school with Bill Stannard, who gave him a good deal because “he couldn’t stand me behind a John Deere.”
Like the Gotts, Kolb said he and his brothers Jerry, Carl and Ken have a lot of soybeans on their 1,400 acres.
“It’s going to be a halfway decent year,” Kolb said. “Beans are doing better (in dry weather) because they have a taproot.”
Farmers came from wide and far to the product demonstration — including Ron and Maggie Hill, who farm 650 acres in northern Stark County.
They’re trying Low-Lin soybeans for trans-fat-free oil, which will realize a 55-cent premium per bushel, Ron Hill said.
Bill Stannard and his cousin, Patti Young, are the third generation to serve the farm community and Tom is the fourth — the great-grandson of Eva Young, who ran the company after her husband Robert was struck and killed by a train in 1932.
“For what they go through with the money they make and the financial burden they take on, you’ve got to admire them,” Tom Stannard said.
Young said a new trend is that many farmers hold full-time jobs on the side, which is true for Kevin Gott, who works for the village of Wellington; Jon Gott, who works for Shiloh Industries; Kolb, who worked until recently in construction; and Maggie Hill, who just retired from Hoover Co. in North Canton.
These days, a lot of farmland is sprouting houses, not crops, Young said.
That’s only a possibility if your farm is close to a growing suburb or other property that can be developed, said Kolb, whose family farm is on rural Quarry Road.
Why do the farmers persist?
Jon Gott got a little emotional, saying “I like making things grow.”
Kolb answered the question with a joke.
“I didn’t know any better,” he said.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.

072607harvest.jpg Chuck Humel / Chronicle
Wellington farmer Larry Kolb, 57, bought a Case 180 tractor that is similar to, but slightly smaller than, the one behind him.
ct_video.jpg Watch tillage techniques.