February 28, 2023
Planting season is underway in portions of the United States.
Midland Radio caught up with its partner, Todd Westerfeld at the end of January to speak to him about how GMRS two-way radios keep his farm connected throughout the busy season.
Todd Westerfeld's family farm is located in Moddy, Texas. That's about 20 miles south of Waco.
“We grow about 5,500 acres between my father and I. We’ve got the rotations between hard red winter wheat, corn, and cotton depending on the field tide and depends on the rotation we run on it.”
Westerfeld said it's hard to know when the family farm began so he believes he's either a fourth or fifth generation farmer.
Either way, the farm will look a little different next year.
"My dad is actually in his final year so he will be retiring so to speak after this year. He’ll still be helping a little bit around the farm. This is his 45th crop. I think he’s grown cotton all but two of them. It will be an interesting period after this year when I start taking over everything on my own, hiring new guys, but I look forward to the new challenge.”
The unpredictability of farming is what Westerfeld said is his favorite part of the job.
“My favorite thing is definitely just the fact that there is never a year that is the same. Every day is different, every year is different, there’s no set schedule ,no set yield, no set weather pattern. Whether it’s good or bad, it just keeps you engaged because it’s ever changing."
He said that means you have to go out with the same level of intensity each year.
“That’s probably the most rewarding part is knowing you have to put forth full effort, no matter if it’s a terrible year or a good year. You never know if it’s going to be a good year and if you start getting lazy, start getting frustrated, you’re going to miss out on the good years. When you do have one of those good years, it makes everything worth it.”
Westerfeld said farming in Texas is very different than Midwest farming, citing cotton as a crop. He also said corn in Texas differs from that of the Midwest.
“One of the most unique things down here is our corn crop is not Midwest standards, it never has been, it never will be. What people have to keep in mind is the environment is just different down here. It gets hot. It doesn’t rain as much, but our input, our cash leases is reflective of the crop we grow so we may not grow 250 bushel corn, but we don’t need to down here.”
He said he enjoys connecting with other farmers on Instagram and Facebook.
"What’s funny is people are surprised that we only grow 150 bushel of corn and then you kind of lay the numbers out- we spend as much on our crop as a lot of Midwest people do on their entire cash lease so we don’t need to make 250 bushel of corn.”
The start of February is calm, but things ramp up around February 20th.
"Typically around the 20th of February on average, that’s when we begin our crop season for corn and eventually cotton later on in April. We’ll start planting corn in late February.”
However, some of that work began at the end of 2022.
“I’m very big into precision agriculture so our preparation for planting begins really in December when our anhydrous season starts. A lot of people down here in particular with anhydrous ammonia, we put it out broadcast with field cultivators. This year we’ve kind of been working with Deere on helping develop their new auto pass system where we’re able to lay off anhydrous track since we’re pulling tanks behind us.”
Early February is all about preparation, making sure everything is ready before what Westerfeld refers to as, "the sprint," begins.
“Even though we’re not doing anything right now, I’m still checking field prescriptions, we do a lot of prescription planting for how much seed we’re putting per acre. I’m constantly checking stuff, tracking lines, making sure everything is good so when we do get to planting season, we’re not scrambling around wondering where the information we need is.”
While preparation is underway, Westerfeld said they make sure to soak up the last few weeks of relaxation.
“We’re sitting back and resting, knowing our days of rest are kind of coming down to an end, but I cannot wait for planting to begin."
Westefeld and his crew rely on Midland GMRS two-way radios to keep connected throughout the year.
"These are by far two of my favorite Midland products."
Westerfeld said it is however important not to sleep on handheld walkie talkies.
"The handhelds are fantastic for making adjustments to the planter; especially when it comes to stuff like the section control settings, seed spacing so having MicroMobiles that will pair up with the handhelds is probably my favorite aspect of Midland Radio.”
It's the compatibility between the handhelds and MicroMobile® GMRS two-way radios that brings ease to the farm, he said.
“It’s great to be able to be outside on foot and still be able to communicate with someone in the tractor. It goes all year round. When someone is scouting for you behind the machine, it makes it so nice to have that instant communication without having to dial somebody up, make a phone call to ask somebody to do something.”
When it comes down to his absolute favorite MicroMobile® GMRS two-way radio, Westerfeld said that is hands down the MXT500.
“We’ve got it in a couple of vehicles. The volume quality, the clarity, the distance, they look clean, it’s just a nice looking radio, and works fantastic.”
Overall, Westerfeld said ahead of planting season, it is key for him to ensure all his MicroMobile® GMRS two-way radios and handhelds are ready to go.
"Communication is just so much more streamlined. I can't wait to get using my Midland products this planting season."