Pop the Champagne

by James Banahan

by James Banahan

I just got the first shipment of 2016 seed guides from a few of our seed partners, so I’ve got here a bottle of champagne, a noisemaker, and some glitter and I guess I’m counting down to midnight tonight.

It strikes me as just a bit early, but maybe I’m just getting old.

Or maybe it actually is pretty early. I actually almost threw the new guides out because I thought that they were last year’s, still taking up space on my desk. And mentally, I’m just not there quite yet, and I’m guessing that neither are you. Perhaps it’s that time speeds up as I age, but really, it’s not a total exaggeration to say that we just got this year’s crops planted.

While ringing in the 2016 season here in mid-July seems just about as annoying as Christmas decorations and songs before Halloween, taking advantage of a chemical or fertilizer company’s summer fill program can actually be a pretty great thing for you, the grower.

Buying some of your inputs half a year before you plan on using them can mean a great price. Demand is low at this time of the year, so many companies offer some pretty attractive discounts that can result in some real saving on your end. For example, your very own co-op is currently offering a quite attractive price on select fertility sources—some prices are the best I’ve seen in half a decade.

iStock_000000460639Large 2Buying inputs early also (gently) forces you to plan, which is never a bad thing in our line of work. Planning now to determine what input you’ll need in the 2016 season will also shed some light on your equipment needs and might even help you realize a need you didn’t even know you had, perhaps for a fall application or for a change in the way you want to handle your operation in the future.

Buying early will also save you the stress later on and take the emotion out of the buying process. The second half of our year is always busy with harvest, calving, and a multitude of other activities (sometimes happening all at once). Imagine that you wait until November or December to start pricing fertilizer. Imagine that you and your FSA play phone tag for a bit. Imagine the frustration and haste that you’ll carry into your purchasing decision. Taking care of that now simply makes for one less thing to worry about later.

Maybe you still think that buying inputs for a crop that is nine months out sounds totally crazy. I get it. But unless you’re planning on retiring, going organic, or skipping town, buying now could be a great opportunity—a way to take some risk and uncertainty (two of our very least favorite things) out of next year’s crop.