Planting complete – now what to do?

Farm Forum

At this writing most planting is complete in my area, after multiple delays in between predominantly welcome rain showers. As usual our state varies a lot and some areas have received an excess and may be still be waiting for some fields to dry out. While initially being stumped for a subject for this column, many possible topics came to mind. One of which was safety, as I am slowly recovering from bruised ribs following an accident driving an ATV. More on that later.

Some not fully familiar with the ag circuit — but occasionally consider themselves knowledgeable of the subject — may say, “Now all you have to do is wait until harvest”. We certainly are aware that is not true. It is just a completion of a stage. 1.) The preparation stage has been going on for a year already as input decisions made for the prior year’s crop has bearing on this year’s. Fertility, crop rotation, seed and herbicide selections, financing, equipment needs, etc. needed to be considered before the (2) planting stage could commence. Now, a great deal of (3) nurturing is required prior to (4) harvest, and preparation for the following year commences.

As I think of forthcoming tasks, a quick to-do list comes to mind:

1. Be grateful of and recognize those on your team who had a hand in getting planting done:

a. Family, labor force, input suppliers, parts and repair specialists to name a few.

b. With this past Memorial Day holiday in mind, we appreciate those who gave us the right to have decisions to make, rather than be told the aforementioned options.

2. Pre-emergence and post-emergence weed control options. These have changed daily or even hourly when skies have threatened and/or offered rain to effect timeliness of your ability to apply vs. emergence of the crop and weeds.

a. Have a plan A to begin with.

b. Be willing to consider adjustments which will be plan B, C, or D at any given time.

3. Hail insurance binding to cover what potential revenue, above your multi-peril crop insurance guarantee, that you have exposed to a hailstorm event. The investment in time and dollars spent selecting items in #2 to create more yield can be negated in a 10 minute cloudburst.

4. Marketing: There have been some good prices rallies, especially in soybeans, during the planting season. Use the tools you have to listen, analyze and act on the prices offered that seemed unreachable when making earlier revenue projections. They key word is listen to the information that is adequate, vs. trying to hear everything.

5. Thoroughly clean and access any issues your planting equipment may have had in preparation for next season. I know you are likely pulling the pin and hooking onto a sprayer or hay cutter. Remember that phone in your hand can make memos from your voice while in the field on the next project.

6. If you have livestock they may have been put on the side burner during days when field conditions warranted full focus to crops. They have their own set of preparation, nurturing and harvest tasks that cannot to be set aside very long. Fencing, vaccinations, mineral, bull fertility checks, fly control all quickly come to mind. Don’t forget the most important; water quality and access to it. Can your little calves reach the water level in the big tire tank in the pasture after cows have drank it down some?

7. Yard work: Though hard to put a return/acre on this, but coming home to a neater farmstead and work area can benefit morale. If this isn’t your strong suit ask for help prior to it becoming overwhelming.

This list could go on and on and was not meant to create anxiety but rather an influence to make a plan to achieve 1 thing at a time and feel a sense of accomplishment even if only temporary.

In these hectic days a useful tool to reach for often is a simple serenity prayer:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference!”

If you would like more information on how the South Dakota Center for Farm/Ranch Business management can improve your recordkeeping and provide financial and enterprise analysis, contact us at 605-995-7191 or our website is