Precision agriculture has taken hold and farmers, with the help of seed companies, and seed growers are deploying strategies to make the most of every acre with the goal of giving the crop what it needs precisely where it is needed in the most sustainable way. This means looking at ways to decrease the number of passes over the field, which results in less compaction, saved time and resources.
Whether this comes in the form of a seed treatment, or fertilizer as a side-by-side, it delivers convenience, saving time and money. Can we take this same “precision ag” approach and apply it to our operations and logistics during seeding and harvest?
To make seeding and harvest as efficient as possible, here are a few questions to ask:
- What tasks are required? It might be helpful to write down a list in chronological order from planter preparation to moving equipment from field to field.
- What tasks are repetitive? From the list you create, mark the ones that are repeated the most and about how much time you allot for each task.
- What slows down the team? When you look at previous years, which tasks held up the rest of the team from being able to move forward? It’s important to make note of these. Is this a common occurrence? Does it slow progress in getting the seed in the ground or in the bin?
One task that I’m intimate with is the need to refuel equipment. It’s absolutely essential in getting the job done and it can be dangerous and time consuming if you don’t have the right equipment.
I often see growers using a slip tank in the back of their truck to fill up equipment. This works fine if you’re not operating far from base and don’t have multiple machines running through multiple fields. But sometimes, these tanks don’t hold enough fuel or the pump doesn’t fuel fast enough. As an alternative, some growers opt for a non-legal tank on the back of a truck but this poses a danger, especially on roadways. These tanks are not intended for that and the shifting weight can be problematic.
Additionally, the hoses required to reach the tractor and combine are long and bulky. They can be annoying and cumbersome to uncoil and recoil. Anyone who has had to deal with this knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Might this be a point where efficiency and convenience can be gained? We all know that time is precious during these two seasons and Mother Nature is not something that we can control. Let’s focus on controlling what we can and being as efficient as possible.