Sustainable planning when it comes to your farm is a must as you know.
One area of agriculture that has seen a major shift in technology is planting. We now have the ability to collect a mountain of data about our fields each year in ways that was not possible just a few short years ago. The rise in these new innovative programs has led to many new products on the market all designed to control planter down pressure, seed and fertilizer rates, swath control, turn compensation, machine guidance, and a long list of other devices all created to help your planter achieve the perfect crop. The learning curve that has come with this new way of operating has been very large for some and easy as pie for others. Quite simply electronic controls are not easily understood by all and Knowing what to do with the data is even more important. The investment required to step up to this new technology is quite large. It is simply out of reach for smaller operations and even tough to achieve with larger scale farms. I have seen a trend which I would like to speak about today. There are many growers that are eager to embrace these machinery updates and learn how to make them work for their farm. They understand the initial investment is huge but they are still willing to utilize these devices if it will help cut costs and improve yields. One consideration I think needs to be made is the cost to maintain this new technology and how does that work into the plan?
As everyone knows farm machinery has grown in size by leaps and bounds. Planters are no exception. New machines simply dwarf planters that were common place just ten years ago. The cost to maintain these planters has grown with them as well. So here lies my concern. Where do you find balance in your farm plan?
The answer to this question is going to be different for every person reading this article. By balance I mean in your operational budget to not only buy the new technology and machinery but to manage it after the purchase.
Every planter made shares some similar traits. They wear out and technology needs to be updated to keep it current and operating properly. Each machine has become larger to help farmers cover increasing amounts of acres to and to utilize small seasonal planting windows of opportunity. But where is your balance point. If you were running a 6 row planter in the past and are now considering the advancement to an 8, 12, 16, or 24 row planter your cost of planting program will grow exponentially. The regular day to day wear and tear budget will grow and that is before you invest in the newest of machine controls and data collection systems. Take the time to ask your precision ag specialist just what you could possibly expect to spend on upkeep for your new systems. Asking other growers that have been using the systems is also a great way to find the out things to watch for and to plan for.
Growers will tell you that they really enjoy the new abilities that come with this advanced machinery but often mention frustration with cost and the level of training required to allow the operator to keep up with the massive amount of information provided by these systems. “Be sure you by from a dealer that will invest in you” Is what I tell everyone. Training days are one way dealers can help you stay current with new updates. It can also help you learn the detailed setting where added performance is gained. This is the reason you invest in this technology. Be sure it is going to earn it’s keep on your farm.
The balance point comes from the size of machine you need to consider. How many acres do you need to cover? How much does the system cost initially, How much can I plan to spend on a year over year basis to maintain and add to this system? Is this a system that I can build over time to help my budget? There is no better time to have the conversation than when you are considering the move to an investment. Don’t let a bushel per acre sales tactic be where your equipment provider starts his talk with you. Start with the whole picture to let your dealer understand the full scope of what Your farm and Your family need. Then the conversation must be how to create a plan that will improve profit per acre over a set amount of time.
Our Team at Kearney Planters understands the concept of balance and why it is important. We understand that investing in our customers success is a crucial part of our responsibility as a machinery provider. Our unique niche as planting specialists has allowed us to focus on planting your crop on a 365 day per year basis. We continually strive to bring added value to our customers while weeding out the many gimics that hit the market as well to help our customers enjoy benefits and growth from the machinery they have invested in. Things are changing very quickly in the arena of planting.
Stop by Kearney Planters to talk about planning ahead with our team. What are your goals? How can I reach them in a way that makes sense, is sustainable, and profitable for MY farm?
We’re here every day to serve you. As always, there are great things happening at Kearney Planters. See you there!