Good is Rarely Cheap

by James Banahan

by James Banahan

Whether we’re talking about seed, service, or chemistry, good is rarely cheap. It’s a lesson that’s all too clear in some fields right now. I hope it’s not your fields that I’m referring to here, because there are a few kind of train wreck-y fields out there where hesitancy to spend money and/or time affected management detrimentally.

This week, we started to spray quite a few soybean acres and cut quite a few wheat fields. In the process, I’ve heard a lot of conversations about the weeds and about what its going to cost to manage them. I’ve had to be honest and share that in some cases, we’re just going to have to live with the weeds. Some growers are in situations right now where spending even $50 per acre couldn’t clean it all up.

If you’re finding yourself in this camp—that even a hefty investment won’t clean your fields—it’s a lesson learned. The days of running 22 oz. of Roundup are over. Most growers operating today are still running products or premixes that they were using before the turn of the millennium. Most growers are doing this because these products and premixes are tried and true. The problem is that the weeds out there today aren’t exactly the weeds they were before the turn of the millennium. They’ve changed, and we need to follow suit.

IMG_3768If your lesson isn’t the importance of adopting a modern chemistry program, this has also been the year to show that a fall application pays. Fields sprayed in the fall stayed cleaner longer than fields not sprayed—in some cases, those fall sprayed fields are still looking pretty fine.

Of course, the additional cost of upgrading your chemistry program is probably a deterrent too. We tend to fixate on that dollar amount going out, often to the detriment of the dollar amount coming in. We so concern ourselves with the extra dollar going out that we lose focus on the $10 that it could bring.

(This same concept applies to those of you pursuing a double crop right now. There’s another company selling DC beans for a whole buck less than we are, but they aren’t using the newest and best traits in their varieties. Which essentially amounts to using products from the last century, which again, as our fields currently prove, isn’t a fantastic route to a successful season.)

We’ve had a challenging year, so none of this is to ding the way your run your operation. It is the challenging years though that reveal to us the small cracks and fissures in the way we do things. The challenging years are the ones that remind us of the need to spruce things up a bit, even if it costs us a bit more, because there is much to be gained in growing and developing.