ReachOut: The Rules

ReachOut: The Rules from United Farmers Cooperative on Vimeo.

Mike Zwingman

Mike Zwingman

A few weeks ago I told you all what Rule 51 was, I dare not repeat it because it was painful enough the first time.  So I have been asked what some of the other rules of agronomy are, so here are some. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, and in no particular order.  These are things I think about all the time, and suggestive hints I have been leaving in articles throughout the year, mixed in with a little fun.

Rule #4: Compaction sucks.

It’s good for roads, runways, and containment dykes for fertilizer, but otherwise, Mother Earth should be supple and kind, not cold and hard like that girl in high school who broke your heart.

Rule #22: The right answer is the simplest one (or some similar variation of Occam’s Razor).

When your plant says to you, “Hey, I have ALS damage,” there’s no need to wring your hands over why or how this happened.  The right answer is the simple one: herbicide carryover.  Your soil pH was out of whack or you didn’t get enough rain and wham-o, herbicide carryover and ALS damage.  Case closed.


Rule #47: Every once in a while, blame Jimmy.

Jimmy is no one.  He’s the idiot alter ego of someone who is actually a very good farmer.  We’re all allowed to be Jimmy every now and then.  When this happens, forgive yourself. Just don’t make a habit of being Jimmy.

Rule #2: Get dirty.

In an age of drones and satellites and chlorophyll meters, still nothing beats a shovel.  Your plants have a problem?  You need an answer?  Start digging, my friend.

Rule #7: Always carry a knife.

You’ll never know when you’ll need to fend off an angry badger in the middle of your corn field.  Knives are also useful for splitting corn plants, measuring seed depth, cleaning boots, and digging—anything, really, that requires a certain amount of dexterity and a certain amount of violence.

Rule #39: If you have to ask yourself why, don’t do it.

Don’t talk yourself into a bad situation.  If you don’t know why you’re doing something, or why you’re doing it right now, back away and live to fight another day.

Rule #29: A plant will tell you everything you need to know.

Each nutrient deficiency, insect, and disease has telltale signs.  So look.  The answers are all around you.

Rule #3: Control what you can.

The weather, the market, and other slings and arrows of our industry: so what?  Just take care of your business.  Put your head down, do what you can do, and never end a year regretting actions not taken.

Header1Rule #15: Teamwork.

Two is greater than one; five is greater than two.  We all bring different skills and expertise to an operation.  Surround yourself with a good team.  Share visions and goals and philosophy and coach your team to success.

By the by, good friends, go Cowboys.