We’re Pretty Busy Waiting for Spring
It’s looking like this spring will be a lot like last year – cool and wet. While there’s not much we can do about the weather, we can do everything we can to be prepared once the sun comes out and the fields are ready for planting season.
One of the main strategies recommended by farm magazines, ag schools and equipment manufacturers is maintenance. It stands to reason, many of our pieces of equipment are a huge investment and even an hour of lost time on an ideal planting day can be a significant setback. Realizing that a break down is the result of overlooking something during the off season further adds to the frustration.
Even though things look quiet on the farming front, most of us are using this time to check equipment and ensure that everything is ready to go. It’s no exception for us. With 40 or more pieces of equipment, there’s plenty for everyone to do here. Currently eight of our crew is in the shop, getting ready for planting season.
Working through such a fleet of equipment means attention to detail and one thing that my dad did that we still do, is work from a checklist. We prioritize the planting equipment first, since that will be first in the field.
Dad grew up around airplanes – his dad worked at a small Indianapolis area airport, so my dad was there, doing maintenance, mowing the runway and other tasks. That work ethic, attention to detail and reliance on checklists carried over to his farming operation. He still makes the argument that everything needs a checklist and needs to be signed off once it’s complete. Every piece of equipment comes through that way.
While this attention to detail is effective, the computer technology still manages to be a wild card at times. Planting is done with a prescription, so we plant following that formula for seeding rates based on soil type and other factors. The planter and tractor ‘talk’ to each other in order for that to happen and you don’t always know if things will work until you are in the field. The computer that runs things is just as important as the mechanical component and it can be frustrating to get to the field only to deal with a software glitch or a loose electrical connection.
But, if everything were predictable and reliable, it wouldn’t be farming. Just like the weather, we can do our best to be prepared then adjust the best we can with what we’re given.