December 14, 2022
It’s a new year and just like every other year, people are making resolutions to do something in hopes of being better: lose weight, exercise more, get organized, save money, etc.
But what if we all thought of making resolutions differently? What if our resolutions were how we could better improve our operation on the farm?
I’ve got a list of things I could improve, and I’m betting you do, too. Here’s my list:
Check the cattle mineral feeder once per week. Maybe every Monday. Mineral — loose, lick tubs, injections or pills — is one way to help keep animals healthy. It’s no different than a balanced diet for a human and taking the needed vitamins on a regular basis. How often do you check mineral feeders?
Organize farm receipts. Usually in about February every year, I decide it’s time to locate everything for my tax paperwork. And every year, after I take a day to organize invoices and receipts for my accountant, I tell myself I will organize better next year. Help me out: What do you use to organize your receipts and track records like online bill paying? It may be time to trade in my old-school pen and paper for Excel.
Test soil, water and feed every year. I’m putting this on the calendar for May 1, when the ground is thawed, because I know I can learn a lot from analyzing the soil and water on the farm. I added feed in there, because corn and oats can have different nutrient levels each year. How often do you run these tests on your farm?
Check the electric fence once per week. My dad is always asking me if I checked the electric fence. My answer? Not always great. For Christmas last year, he bought me a tester that hangs on the wire and blinks if there is a short in the fence. It is very helpful, since I park near where it hangs every day when I do chores. How often do you check your electric fence, or do you wait until something gets out?
Take an end-of-summer hay inventory. Know what you’ve got, and you can track what your cows eat through the winter — depending on weather and stalk grazing. I think I’ll find a notebook to put in the tractor right now. How do you track feed inventories?
All these are things I’m sure many people do — or say they will do — every year. Be sure when you are making your New Year’s resolutions, they’re doable and they’ll make you a better producer. Tell someone else about your farm resolutions, and ask them to keep you accountable. I just told tens of thousands of Wallaces Farmer readers. I wonder who will ask me about them?
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