Southern Spotlight: Shiny Objects

James Banahan

James Banahan

It’s been about a month since I wrote my fall burndown article, but today, we’re on the very cusp of actually doing it.  And everybody’s got a program that’s better than your neighbor’s, right?  This one offers a rebate, this one a finance option, this one a new coat for your wife, this one some other shiny object.

What I’m here to say though is, that stuff—it’s all noise.  Distraction.  No matter the reward or the prize or the “re-spray guarantee policy”—these things shouldn’t sway your product selection.  It isn’t the marketing package that makes a product work on your fields.  It is the fit of the product to your operation that makes it a winner.  And hey, if that product happens to come with some kick back or movie tickets or guarantee, great.

Companies are very good at marketing hype.  They dress up their products with bells and whistles and other flashiness that actually has nothing to do with the product itself.  These things are meant to lure you in, to get you to bite.  But remember the purpose of the product.  Focus on what it will return to your operation instead of what fancy marketing it has and all will be well.  Rebates are nice kickers, but should you base an entire decision on one?  No way.

Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking that it sounds like one more reason to just skip fall burndown altogether.  You’ve got the marketing mess, it’s wet, it’s late, and let’s not even mention the expense, huh?  You might look at your field and think that it looks pretty darn clean after all.  But take a look at the lawn around your house.  See the dandelion?  The henbit and clover?  If it’s on your lawn, it’s in your fields.  Perhaps it doesn’t look as bad when it’s not directly underfoot, but that same havoc that dandelions wreak on your lawn, weeds at large wreak in your fields.DSC_0029

We’ve had a good bit of late season rain recently and if managed properly, it’ll get us a good start with our next crop.  We have to get it through the winter first though, and weeds are a prime way to waste that precious subsoil moisture.  A fall burndown will help protect this little boon we’ve been given: ushering, for example, five inches of water (which many of us have received in the last three weeks alone)through the winter and into the spring starts us with enough to grow 45 bushels of corn per acre to maturity.

As a Field Sales Agronomist, I’m just as guilty when it comes to falling prey to a slick, new marketing scheme, but my job is to advise, and I do that based on what is best for your acres.  A fall burndown is a good investment, and the best program for your operation has absolutely nothing to do with its kickbacks or marketing package.  Your FSA might want to get you in on a program that has something fancy attached to it, but that something fancy isn’t the reason.  Like me, your FSA wants what is best for acres.  If that happens to come with a paid truck lease or something, you can give your FSA a quick ride around to say thanks come spring, when your fields are clean and you’re inches ahead before your seeds even touch the ground.