Southern Spotlight: If Your Neighbor Jumped Off A Bridge…

James Banahan

James Banahan

You wouldn’t follow, right?  So quit watching your neighbor.  Because I know you are.  I know that Joe/Dan/Larry/Hank has been out in the field with his tractor and you’ve been watching from the window, letting anxiety creep in because he’s out there and you’re not.

But really, quit doing this to yourself.  Quit watching your neighbors, and while you’re at it, quit looking at the calendar.  Neither have anything helpful to offer you.  When the right time comes for you to be out in the fields, it’s not your neighbors or the calendar that will tell you so.  It’s your fields.

Or more specifically, your field conditions will tell you when you need to come on out and play.

I know, I know.  You’ve got spring fever or cabin fever or both.  And so you’re a little competitive.  I feel the same.  It doesn’t help that we’ve been so focused on our cattle and livestock either—now that they’re mostly squared away, we finally have the brain space to think of something else and that something else is our fields and crops.  All that energy we put into our cattle has to go somewhere after all and it’s easy to feel that maybe you’re a little late arriving to the ball.

But you’re not.  It’s still potentially thirty days before we’ll even start planting.

If you feel like you’re just sitting on your hands though—and you can’t stand to feel like you’re sitting on your hands—there are some things that you can do.  You can make sure that your planter is ready, that your maps are in.  You can visit with your FSA to finalize plans for the season and make sure that all is well.  (For all the rush to get into the fields, I’m certain that some of you are still making some basic decisions about what to plant and where.)  You can play a round of golf.

Which I don’t mean sarcastically.  Go play a round of golf.  It’s nice outside.  Let your FSA and co-op worry about what you’ve entrusted them with.  We’ll get it done, Scout’s honor.

What you shouldn’t do: Don’t get stressed.  Don’t get worked up.  Don’t give your agronomist a hard time just because you’re bored.  And don’t—DON’T!—drag some giant machinery into your fields unnecessarily.

Making unnecessary excursions into your fields too early will cost you yield come harvest.  There is this thing called compaction—perhaps you’ve heard of it.  It is bad for business and one major cause of it is playing in soil that is too wet, especially when you’re playing with big, heavy pieces of equipment.

If you were proactive about getting your ducks in a row for the season and your orders are in, then you’re in a very good position right now.  Don’t jeopardize that position by letting your anxiety cause you to make a bad decision.  Relax for a minute.  Breathe.  Your neighbor is in the field because he’s different than you—he has different goals, different equipment, different conditions.  Let him be.  Let the calendar be.  Read your fields, and when the conditions say so, then you go.