Southern Spotlight: Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Roads

James Banahan

James Banahan

2015 is the year that Marty McFly went to in Back To The Future II, a full 30 years into the future from the movie’s setting in 1985.  We (very unfortunately) don’t yet have the hover boards that the movie depicted in 2015, but one message from the movie yet rings true: the world looks very different in 30 years’ time.

If you were farming in 1985, you well know that farming in 2015 is not what it was in 1985.  Roundup ready crops, BT corn, sub inch guidance, variable rate technology—none of these things were on the table in 1985.  So think about what things might look like in 2045.  Think Terminator (without the violence, of course): fully robotic machines, unmanned aerial vehicles delivering precise chemical strikes to weeds in fields only as needed…

Take your planter for example.  In 1985, you probably drove a plate type planter that required both the right speed and right plate to match the seed size.  (If you were an early adopter, maybe you used a finger pick up for corn.) Today’s planters are wholly different.  They are precision machines capable of doing twice the work with twice the accuracy in half the time.  They plant faster or slower depending on which way you (or the computer!) turn the wheel.  You can download and play your favorite AC/DC song while eating  a candy bar in the cab.  They’re freaking satellite-assisted for crying out loud!

Your planter is an awesome machine.  If you’re feeling a little guilty about letting it collect dust and cobwebs in the shed all winter though, don’t.  But by all means, go peek in on it.  I’m guessing that when you parked it there last spring, there might have been some parts you were meaning to replace.  Or maybe you were meaning to trade it in but didn’t.  Or perhaps you actually did trade it in—whether you walked away with a small upgrade or the slickest Cadillac planter on the lot—that thing sitting in the corner of your shed is a bit of an unknown animal.  Whatever the case, here’s my point: that very awesome machine needs a little loving—maybe a little fixing, maybe a little attention—to be all that it can be.

You do not owe it to your planter to give it that loving.  You owe it to yourself and your family and your operation and your bottom line to give it that loving.

A few weeks ago, Mike Zwingman wrote in the ReachOut article about imagining the impact of your decisions on just one plant in your field.  I want you to do that again today: imagine that that one plant is the one that would have grown had your planter not suffered a skip.  Imagine the 1.5 bushels that that plant won’t produce.  Imagine the five dollars missing from your pocket.

Central Valley Ag is initiating a Two Million Bushel Challenge this year.  That’s what we figure we can add to our producers by getting a better stand on 210,000 acres of corn.  It’s not a totally outlandish number, but it’s a big one.  It’s one that we can’t reach by leaving bushels on the table, or in the field.  What we leave there doesn’t count in our quest for higher production.  Neither do could-have-been bushels or would-have-been-bushels or should-have-been bushels.

So coming soon to a location near you will be a row unit stand where trained professionals will be available to check your seed meters and discuss planter options to better tailor your most important machine to your specific operation.  It’s a way of helping you turn those could/would/should-have-been bushels into real ones that grow on plants, spill into hoppers, weigh on scales, and turn into profit.