5 Things Farmers Should Do During Harvest

68755_10151986781591029_1091569841_nCan you smell it?  Harvest is in the air!  Mmmm,….I love the smell of harvest and the haze of grain dust that fills the horizon.  It is the time of year when everyone is hopeful for a good yields, and everyone prays for good weather to get the crop off dry and in good time.  Everyone dreads a harvest that lingers into October.  Last years snowfall that stayed on October 20th is a reminder that everyday that goes by increases the risk of an incomplete harvest.

Farmers are focused on getting the crop off, but I have a few suggestions for farmers to do, despite they hectic rush to help them manage their business

1. Be safe!  This is not really a farm management suggestion like the other 4 are, but I had to put it as #1 on the list.  Farming is a dangerous business, and safety must be considered at all times.  If the combine is plugged, don’t cut corners, do what it takes to ensure you are safe.  Just about everything that you do during harvest can be deadly if you don’t have safe farming practices.  If something does happen, be sure that everyone knows where you are at, and know the land location of the quarter you are on.  If you don’t have the land location, emergency services will not find you.  Discuss safety openly with your family, your hired help, and the people who come to your farm.

2. Track Inventory – As the grain is harvested, make a record of what bin the grain is going into.  By jotting down the grain from the specific fields and where it is stored, it will help you track quality and allow you to accurately market your grain.  There is nothing worse than having a load of grain rejected and sent back because it was not what you thought you were selling (quality/grade/moisture etc).

3. Date your activities – having a record of your harvest progress, the dates and locations you combined, and the weather each day.  This type of record keeping will help at the end of the harvest as a great reflection of how it really went.  Dating activities will help benchmark progress in future years and will also allow you to align quality of your inventory with the timing of the harvest.

4. Document moisture levels – with more acres farmed by fewer farmers, taking grain off tough is a reality.  Most farmers have aeration in some bins and managing that storage space is essential to managing the risk of heating and spoilage.  If you have an accurate record of your moisture levels this will help you manage your storage and minimize the risk of losing grain from heating.  At the time you are sure you will remember, but after the adrenaline rush of harvest is over it all becomes a blur.  I would also recommend making yourself a reminder to check bins and turn on fans.

5. Use your smart phone to keep it simple.  Most farmers I know have a smart phone and are good with technology.  If you don’t want to write everything down use an app on your phone to do it.  I have an app called aNote that allows pictures to be added into the folders (take a picture of the moisture test – and make a note).  Keeping a record of the weather is as simple as taking a screen shot of your smart phone (iphone is pressing the power button at top and round menu button at the same time).  Once the snow is on the ground you can take a few minutes and record all of the data in one place.  Real time information is important, use the tool you have in your hand to its full capability and help you manage your business.

There you have it.  Simple tips for your farm during harvest that will hopefully help you manage your farm post-harvest and contribute to the bottom line.  Tracking the small details in real time will give you the essential data for benchmarking, mitigating risk, and managing inventory (the one thing that turns into money).  As you are tracking your data, please don’t forget #1 – be safe!

Wishing you and your farm business a blessed harvest.  May you experience prosperity and financial returns that exceed your expectations.  You deserve every penny you make!!






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