June 6, 2013
Managing Temptations and Avoiding Shortcuts
If you can remain calm in the face of all that’s going on around you these days — it’s obvious you don’t understand the situation!
So reads a popular bumper sticker that would be particularly appropriate to farming this year.
Weather has raised havoc with the timing of much field work and coping with this situation can be a real challenge.
Record prices for crops, uncertain planting acreages, historically high hay prices, and unheard of costs for fuel and other inputs make this an exciting, and challenging, time for all farmers and ranchers. Add weather damage and weather delays to all that and we have a lot of pressure and uncertainty.
During these situations, it’s easy to rush to do tasks that should be done but may not be the most important job or which might actually result in long-term damage. One example is cutting hay when the ground is wet and soft. We need to get that hay cut, but doing it too soon will cause soil compaction, field ruts, and a problem field for every future cutting. When you are in this situation, stop to think. Can you wait one day for the ground to firm up? If not, what fields will be hurt the least by cutting early. Most likely it’s a field ready to rotate to a different crop next year.
Other examples of when rushing can lead to losses include:
- grazing pastures before they are ready which reduces yield yearlong,
- planting into wet soils and getting a spotty stand, or
- baling hay before it’s dry and getting mold and heat damage.
Don’t forget those tried and true management practices when you get in a rush. Think, then act, so you don’t regret your actions.
Extension Forage Specialist