Ready for the spring rush?
Patience is a virtue that can be tough to come by this time of year.
But, good preparation ahead of time and a little extra patience can pay off in a lot of ways this time of year, even when you're itching to get everything done in a hurry, says Purdue University Extension farm safety specialist Bill Field.
Though it may be tough to think in these terms when spring rolls around and you've got a shop full of seed to get in the ground, Field says it all starts by stopping. Stop and think first of yourself and the plans you need to make and carry out to make it a successful spring.
"Farmers often feel pressured to get out into the fields too early, and that can often cause problems," Field says. "Taking time now to get ready for planting season will prevent more mishaps in the long run."
Have your machinery ready to go? If so, you're in a good spot, Field adds. Not only will that put you a step ahead at this point, it will also make thing easier when planting's in full swing.
"It only adds frustrations when equipment breaks down in the field, so farmers should be sure to start the season confident with their machines," Field says.
Once the iron's ready and all you've got is time before you can get rolling, it's a good time to take stock of your personal readiness. Do things that you think can lessen your stress during the planting season and make sure you're physically ready for the longer hours.
"Many farmers lay dormant during the winter months compared to the demanding physical labor they encounter during spring planting," Field says. "I encourage farmers to get out a few weeks before planting and exercise a little more than usual to help them personally prepare for the weeks ahead."
Finally, make sure you have all the tools you need in the field, including for communication. That means either a cell phone or smartphone in case of a delay, breakdown or accident. "Farmers should look at their phones as a safety feature, not an inconvenience," Field adds.